Monday, April 27, 2009

The Red Shoes

I’ve heard about The Red Shoes for years and decided to finally check it out. I think I can safely say I don’t really see what the big deal is.

This movie is a Technicolor marvel to be sure, but I honestly found it to be a bit slow and clichĂ©. The Red Shoes is the story of Victoria Page, Julian Craster & Boris Lormentov – the dancer, the composer and the head of the company. Victoria and Julian fall in love, but must hide it from Lormentov as he “created” them both and has made his thoughts on love clear – you can love dance or be in love, not both. The romance takes all three into a tragic spiral that none of them foresaw.

The Red Shoes is all about the dancing and the music, but really not much new or different, or even nostalgic in the story department. While the film does a decent job of focusing on three lead characters without cheating any of them out of screen time. The visuals are pretty stunning as well, but all in all I don’t think I will be watching this movie multiple times.

Director: Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger

Boris Lermontov: "The Ballet of The Red Shoes" is from a fairy tale by Hans Andersen. It is the story of a young girl who is devoured with an ambition to attend a dance in a pair of Red Shoes. She gets the shoes and goes to the dance. For a time, all goes well and she is very happy. At the end of the evening she is tired and wants to go home, but the Red Shoes are not tired. In fact, the Red Shoes are never tired. They dance her out into the street, they dance her over the mountains and valleys, through fields and forests, through night and day. Time rushes by, love rushes by, life rushes by, but the Red Shoes go on.
Julian Craster: What happens in the end?
Boris Lermontov: Oh, in the end, she dies.


James graduates from college like anyone, full of head-knowledge and with little grasp on the real world; Mom & Dad have always provided everything for him so he assumes that this won’t change as he plans to enter grad school at Columbia in the fall and spend the summer touring Europe. However, his plans come crashing down around him when his parents announce they’ve hit a roadblock and James will have to give up Europe, and get a job to pay for his apartment and school if he still wants to go. Depressed, James gets a job at Adventureland the local amusement park where he is subjected to the worst summer job he could imagine, but like any bad job he meets the people that begin to redefine who he is and for the first time James must make real decisions about his life.

This movie was marketed horribly; when I watched the trailers all that was brought to the forefront was the comedy and the fact that Greg Mottola directed Superbad - a movie that I thought was super bad. Instead, this movie is a poignant, dramedy about a boy that for the first time in his life has to deal with his choices and the choices the people around him make. James has to take responsibility for his life for the first time and become an adult.

I have to say that I hated Twilight with a fiery passion and thought most of the cast gave horrific performances, but in Adventureland Kristin Stewart actually does an amazing job playing a subtle, nuanced, flawed young woman. I am not yet sure she has the prowess or charisma needed to maintain her star status.

Though there were no bad characters in this movie, and Jesse Eisenberg was great as the lead I have to say my single favorite character is Bobby the manager of Adventureland. Bobby is such an awkward, quirky character that exists so much in his own world you can’t help but to love him. Kristen Wiig was perfect to play his wife Paulette.

Adventureland is a highly underrated movie and shouldn’t get ignored as we roll into summer movie season.

Director & Writer: Greg Mottola
James Brennan: Jesse Eisenberg
Mrs. Brennan: Wendie Malick
Frigo: Matt Bush
Paulette: Kristen Wiig
Bobby: Bill Hader
Joel: Martin Starr
Em: Kristen Stewart
Mike Connell: Ryan Reynolds

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Two Girls and a Guy

I haven’t made up my mind about James Toback. I’ve seen some of his movies and while none of them seem to leave me cold, none of them excite me in a way that makes me want to run out and partake in the James Toback film catalog.

In Two Girls and a Guy James Toback explores a twisted love triangle, one that was entered into with out either girl knowing they were a part of a triangle. At the open we have extroverted Lou and rational Carla, pretty girls in their mid-twenties waiting on the front stoop of their boyfriend’s apartment building. As the girls start to talk they quickly make an alarming realization – both of their boyfriend is the same man, Blake Allen. Together Lou & Carla break into Blake’s apartment and wait for him to return. Once Blake arrives they confront him and the three get down and dirty emotionally as the girls try to uncover what is the truth about Blake and what is a lie, all the while Blake does everything in his power to avoid any kind of direct moment with the girls that will make him look like the bad guy, and he worries about the fragile state of his mother.

What is amazing about Two Girls and a Guy is watching Robert Downey Jr. in the midst of his dark, drug induced days. This film came out in 1997, before Downey’s jail time, and while he was slowly drowning in his self-inflicted flaws. The crazy thing is that watching this movie you can visible see the difference between Downey then and now, somehow now having been broken and reached rock bottom he is clearer and his focus and understanding of life come through his eyes and his performance. It makes me wonder where Downey would be now if he hadn’t gotten cleaned up; would he have gone the way of River Phoenix or would he have ended up more along the lines of Charlie Sheen? It makes me incredibly glad that Downey did hit rock bottom and manage to bounce back again, a talent like his is one that needs to be shared.

After watching Two Guys and a Girl I am sure that with a refresher on my basic psych principles or even if forced to dig deeper in a film class, that there are a lot of textual layers to that film. Carla, Lou and Blake are such distinct, flawed characters that the film could only get deeper with further analysis. Blake is also a character that needs study; man or woman you have to admit that what Blake does to these girls is hideous but somehow all of his arguments start to make sense along the way and occasionally you actually feel bad for the man.

While I still don’t have an opinion on James Toback I do think that his films might require further viewing. I am just not going to rush out to see them all immediately.

Director & Writer: James Toback
Lou Johnson: Natasha Gregson Wagner
Carla Bennett: Heather Graham
Blake Allen: Robert Downey Jr.

Blake Allen: I may have been hiding parts of my life from both of you to avoid causing pain. But I didn't say anything to either one of you that I didn't whole-heartedly mean.
Carla: If you believe what you just said it's worse than if you don't.

The Wedding Planner

Mary is one of the most sought after wedding planners in the greater San Francisco area and it finally looks like she is going to land the job that will get her the partnership in her wedding firm with the marriage of new-money Fran Donolly. However, Mary soon figures out that the wedding will be more complicated than it seems when she realizes that Fran’s fiancĂ© Eddie is actually Dr. Steve Eddison, a doctor she had a romantic interlude with right after meeting Fran. What follows is a romantic comedy in the style of the Hollywood classics as Steve has to come to terms with why he flirted with Mary and Mary needs to deal with her attitude towards all of the men in her life.

The Wedding Planner really is one of my guilty pleasure movies. I can’t tell you quite why except I feel like it could have been made forty years ago and starred Rock Hudson & Doris Day. This film is soft, sweet and funny to it’s very core and will undoubtedly score well with the hopeless romantic types or fans of Jennifer Lopez or Matthew McConaughey.

Normally, the “seductive” smile of Matthew McConaughey has no effect on me, but in this movie hid good old southern charm comes shining through and he is pretty impossible to resist.

There is not really a whole lot I can say about this movie. It’s a guilty pleasure for a reason and talking too much about it would spoil it as I’d have to look to hard and find the flaws that I know are there but have cheerfully been avoiding.

Director: Adam Shankman
Writers: Pamela Falk & Michael Ellis
Mary Fiore: Jennifer Lopez
Steve Edison: Matthew McConaughey
Fran Donolly: Bridgette Wilson
Massimo: Justin Chambers
Penny: Judy Greer
Dr. John: Kevin Pollak

Mary: Y'know, "those who can't do, teach"? Well those who can't wed, plan.

For Your Consideration

Home for Purim is a little drama filled with a fine cast who have all put their time in and are well seasoned actors. They are dedicated to making the best film they can but think nothing of their little movie – until an internet rumor about Marilyn Hack getting an Oscar nomination starts. From there the buzz really begins, soon two of the other lead actors get Oscar buzz as well and suddenly the little movie explodes into a potentially big movie and everyone in the cast, crew and press gets caught up in the Hollywood rollercoaster.

Christopher Guest has had a very long string of quirky comedies to his name and For Your Consideration is one of the most biting of his films. This is a film about the razor edge of Hollywood, it’s the dark underbelly that is self-obsessed, and self-serving. Guest manages to bring humor and satire into the Hollywood mentality; he shows that while most actors say they act for the art of it a greater part of them than they’d like to admit really wants the fame and the accolades.

The fun and somewhat unexpected part of For Your Consideration is that it shows the full cycle these actors go through from production, to publicity and the reception of their film, when the nominations are released and the after. It covers everyone from the producers, the hair-brained director, the writers, to the entertainment newscasters.

If you’ve never liked any of Guest’s other films then I should say that you really won’t enjoy For Your Consideration. But if like me, you have an appreciation for Guest’s humor and especially if you love movies about movies then you need to see For Your Consideration.

Director: Christopher Guest
Writers: Christopher Guest & Eugene Levy
Marilyn Hack: Catherine O’Hara
Sandy Lane: Ed Begley Jr.
Morley Orfkin: Eugene Levy
Victor Allen Miller: Harry Shearer
Corey Taft: John Michael Higgins
Whitney Taylor Brown: Jenniger Coolidge
Callie Webb: Parker Posy

Corey Taft: In every actor there lives a tiger, a pig, an ass, and a nightingale.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Soloist

I try to post about the movies I watch in the order that I watch them, but I just left The Soloist and I feel the need to break that pattern and right about this movie while it is very fresh in my mind.

As you can pick up from the trailers The Soloist is based on the true story of L.A. Time writer Steve Lopez and his coverage of Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, a Juliard musician who has ended up homeless on the streets of Los Angeles. It is a story of a city, a group of people, and an unlikely friendship. However, more than anything this is a movie about faith.

The faith theme that runs through this movie is not limited to the traditional “god” or religious faith that will immediately spring into people’s minds, though that is in the film; The Soloist deals with faith in a great many forms – the faith between friends, faith that there is a purpose to life, faith that you can push past struggles, and most importantly the need to have something to believe in to go forward every day as the world tries to fight against you. In this movie Steve tries to find the sense in Nathaniels situation in life and he struggles to reach out to the confused, the lonely, and those whom he would never interact with if he didn’t have Nathaniel in his life; Steve operates on the faith or belief that Nathaniel has a story that is worth discovering and to understand that he needs to see part of the world that Nathaniel is in.

What kills me about The Soloist is that the release date is going to kill this movie. This is a movie that should not have been pushed into a month so near summer. It’s going to alienate the audience this movie deserves because they are going to expect a much lighter, cheerier movie that they will see. Parts of The Soloist are down right experimental and that is going to force The Soloist into a much smaller audience than it might have received in a fall/awards season month.

Jamie Foxx will be lauded for his performance as Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, as he should because he is in the Dustin Hoffman/Rainman category of greatness, but I have a feeling that because of this Robert Downey Jr. will not get as much credit as he deserves. The character of Lopez is real, the straight man trying to pull his life together and though he goes through quite an arch in the film the transformation of Lopez from beginning to end is much more subtle than the character of Ayers. My favorite scenes in the film were actually when Downey was reacting to his situation with Ayers; two notable ones were when he first listens to Ayers play the cello and the emotions that run through his eyes alone are the kind that make you think he has become another person, and a scene where Lopez quietly breaks down to his ex-wife about how Nathaniel has slowly broken his heart. I know Downey is a phenomenal actor but he never ceases to amaze me.

The only think that disappointed me about The Soloist is that the film is a bit more of a downer than it appears to be in the trailers. However, the film hits perfect notes all the way through, and tacking on a “uplifting” ending would not be true to the characters or the film.

Director: Joe Wright
Writer: Susannah Grant
Steve Lopez: Robert Downey Jr.
Nathaniel Ayers: Jamie Foxx
Mary Whitman: Catherine Keener

Thursday, April 23, 2009

State of Play

Maybe it’s my fascination with the boy in blue, but I am a sucker for movies about journalists – I even wanted to be a journalist when I was younger – so it’s no wonder that State of Play appealed to me.

State of Play starts with the typical premise of two supposedly not related cases – the double murder being investigated by seasoned reporter Cal and the torrid political affair revealed post-suicide being investigated by young Della. Della and Cal initially cross each others paths because the young suicide victim Sonia was aide to Senator Stephen Collins, Cal’s college roommate. Cal refuses to deal with Della’s story until he uncovers evidence that might link his story to hers and uncover an even deeper conspiracy. Cal and Della get caught up in a web between their editor, the police, the paramilitary organization Collins is investigating, Collins and their own desire to get to the truth of the story.

State of Play is based on the BBC mini series of the same name, and I can tell you it makes an excellent movie. While I found the very tail of the conspiracy a tad predictable, State of Play is taut, suspenseful, well acted, and thoroughly entertaining to watch. From Cal’s first appearance on screen I was pulled into his world and by the end of the film I was feeling just as much passion for Della and Cal’s commitment to their art as they were.

I love Ben Affleck and have been very happy to see him get more dramatic roles. I thought he did a great job in State of Play, but I had the same problem with him in this movie that I had with Matt Damon in The Good Sheppard - age. For State of Play we have to believe that Affleck is old enough to have had Russell Crowe as college roommate and Robin Wright Penn as college sweetheart turned wife. The man was a teenager when she played Buttercup!

I greatly enjoyed State of Play and highly recommend the movie. I left the movie feeling two things: 1) Rachel McAdams needs to be in more movies, 2) I really need to see All the President’s Men.

Director: Kevin Macdonald
Writers: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Tony Gilroy, Billy Ray
Cal McAffrey: Russell Crowe
Stephen Collins: Ben Affleck
Della Frye: Rachel McAdams
Cameron Lynne: Helen Mirren
Anne Collins: Robin Wright Penn
Dominic Foy: Jason Bateman

Della Frye: Did we just break the law?
Cal McAffrey: Nope. That's what you call damn fine reporting.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Freaks came to theatres in 1932 and the story of circus performers and their lives terrified audiences; Freaks is about the bond between a group of “different” people and the consequences when an outsider tries to take advantage of one of the freaks. Hans is initially engaged to Daisy, but when beautiful trapeze artist Cleopatra realizes the diminutive Hans has a crush on her she decides to pursue him for laughs. However, once Cleopatra learns that Hans is an heir to a fortune her tune changes and she decides to reel Hans in and once they marry she and the circus brute Hercules plot Hans’ murder never suspecting that by trying to take down one of the freaks they must face all of them.

I have known the concept of Freaks since film school but I can honestly say I was not prepared for Freaks. I think there were two reasons for this. The film was made in 1932, I think I expected it to be much more docile than it was; also, as a child of the latter part of the twentieth century I was raised in the era of political correctness – people are not “freaks”, “retards” or “handicapped” – they are “special”. Freaks is not politically correct. The film wants to point out the differences in these people and make sure you see it, it doesn’t want you to understand it, just to be hyper aware of it. It was a difficult view point for me to see past since I have grown up in a much more conscious era, but I really think that the reason Freaks is not horrendously offensive is because as the title implies it is told through the eyes of the freaks; in this world you’re a “freak” not if there is something different about you, but if there is something normal about you. The only people that escape this are the ones that have accepted the freaks completely.

While I am not sure that my brain can fully process Freaks (because of the afore mentioned hang up) I can say that the final climax took my breath away. Near the end of the film when the revenge is taken on the performers who attack Hans the cinematography and shot choices are at once startlingly beautiful and absolutely haunting. I did not think that these silly, goofy, hot headed characters could be frightening but by hiding the intensity of their close knit brotherhood until the end of the film the filmmakers managed to play the ultimate card last and really bring the shock and horror to bear in a very playable way.

I can safely say that I have never seen a movie like Freaks and I think I will have to see it at least once more before I can have a full and complete opinion on it.

Director: Tod Browning

Hercules: They're going to make you one of them, my peacock!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Reality Bites

Originally uploaded by Rain Noir
Reality Bites starts as four friends graduate from college and enter into X generation angst; however, Lelaina, Vickie, Troy and Sammy think that they are immune to the yuppies that surround them and can conquer life after college. In true X-gen form they all falter and find their own dramas to be caught up in, dramas that remind them they aren’t as different as they think they are.

As a fan of Ben Stiller’s directorial efforts I was really surprised that I didn’t really like Reality Bites. The film felt a bit disconnected to me, with characters that lack motivation – they simply perform tasks because it’s in the script that they do so. A prime example of this is Sammy, the token early 1990’s gay man in the film, until Sammy actually came out to his mother in the film I wasn’t entirely sure he actually was gay, and he apparently came out because the character of Lelaina needed a moment from Sammy for her documentary. Sammy seems to exist in the film to be the “other” in the film, if Zahn hadn’t been in there they probably would have cast a young black actor just to have some sort of diversity amongst the friends.

I think that Lelaina’s character is actually a very large reason that I couldn’t get into Reality Bites. Going into the film I knew that the main character was a struggling female filmmaker; I think I expected to feel some sort of empathy with Lelaina because she and I are pursuing such similar goals – but I felt nothing for Lelaina. Lelaina is pretentious, argumentative, unmotivated and otherwise directionless; she isn’t close to her parents, gets everyone but Sammy mad at her, and looks down her nose at everyone except herself.

I think that Reality Bites shows definite signs of being a first feature, and obviously Stiller went through the roof; this past year he even did one of the best directorial jobs with Tropic Thunder. More than anything, Reality Bites is mired down by the time period it tried so hard to be relevant to and comment on, and though your opinion may differ I don’t think the gen X angst manages to transfer too well to today.

Director: Ben Stiller
Written By: Helen Childress
Lelaina: Winona Ryder
Troy: Ethan Hawke
Vickie: Janeane Garofalo
Sammy: Steve Zahn
Michael: Ben Stiller

Michael Grates: Have I stepped over some line in the sands of coolness with you? Because excuse me if somebody doesn't know the secret handshake with you.
Troy Dyer: There's no secret handshake. There's an IQ prerequisite, but there's no secret handshake.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Coming Soon

Star Trek and The Soloist may not come out for a few weeks but that's how excited I am to see them!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Umbrella's of Cherbourg

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is a Technicolor musical marvel.

Set in 1950’s France, in the small town of Cherbourg Genevieve & her mother run an umbrella shop. Teenage Genevieve has fallen for Guy, a slightly older boy and the two are madly trying to hold onto their relationship even though Genevieve’s mother protests it. However, Guy is drafted into the French army and the young lovers are forced to separate. Shortly after Genevieve discovers she is with child and her mother convinces her to be pursued by a wealthy and doting jeweler.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg holds a cherished spot in film history because every word of dialogue is sung. It is astoundingly beautiful, though I am a little sad that as I don’t speak French I didn’t really get to enjoy the songs as sung. I had to read the subtitles. The problem with this film is that you can’t watch it late at night. I watched this film when I was a little sleepy and the calm pace and melodies nearly lulled me to sleep.

What I really enjoyed about The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is that for all intents and purposes this should be a very light, bright, fluffy movie. However, this is a movie with a bite.

Don’t watch The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and expect an American, high-energy, 1950’s musical; those musicals are great, but Cherbourg is very much a European film – just with a Hollywood golden-age flare.

Director & Writer: Jacques Demy
Genevieve Enery: Catherine Deneuve
Guy Foucher: Nino Castelnuovo
Madame Eme: Anne Vernon

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


In 1994 a little black and white film set the independent film world on fire and Kevin Smith was born. The story of Randal & Dante, two retail clerks who hate their jobs was unlike anything else on the market and the wit and imagination flew off the screen and helped change the film market as we know it. Seven movies later Kevin Smith is still on top of his game and Clerks is still considered one of the most ground breaking films of the past decade.

Kevin Smith has never been known for his talent as a director, but his skill as a filmmaker. Smith shines when he combines his amazingly unique writing and talent at casting and this jumps off the screen in Clerks. Like most great indy films his film was put together using favors and credit cards, but you’d never know that by watching it; Smith is able to pull the audience into his Jerseyverse* because his actors commit to the dialogue and world of his writing, this happens to completely that you don’t notice Smith’s static shots, lack of lighting, or non-professional actors.

A bid deal has always been made about Jay & Silent Bob, but watching Clerks I am not sure why. The characters are memorable in Smith’s first foray to be sure, but the true stand out to me in Clerks are Dante and Randal – of course this could be because I have been a disgruntled retail clerk myself.

If you want to see why independent film changed the film world in the 1990’s Clerks is on the very short list of films you must see.

Director & Writer: Kevin Smith
Dante: Brian O’Halloran
Randal: Jeff Anderson
Veronica: Marilyn Ghigliotti
Jay: Jason Mewes
Silent Bob: Kevin Smith

Randal Graves: Some guy just came in refusing to pay late fees. Said the store was closed for two hours yesterday. Tore up his membership.
Dante Hicks: Shocking abuse of authority.
Randal Graves: Hey, I'm a firm believer in the philosophy of a ruling class. Especially since I rule.

*The Jerseyverse is a term coined by Kevin Smith in regards to the world of Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, & Clerks II. They all take place in a fictional burb of New Jersey as many of John Hughes brat pack films took place in a fictional town in Illonis.

Monday, April 6, 2009


In the early 20th century the labor unions began to take over and there was a publishing war between the newspaper barons, and when the newpapers decide to make up some of their profits by taking money away from the already struggling newsies the kids get inspired and decide to fight back.

Newsies is a fan favorite, uplifting, musical starring a very young Christian Bale in the main role. In concept this film is quite odd – teens being forced to work before child labor laws were in place, newspaper barons, trolley strikes, fancy foot work and show tunes; yet, Newsies works because it completely commits to what it is and never flounders for a second.

While Newsies is silly at points, and definitely hurries some plot points along like any show stopping musical, it is full of a great set of characters that make the film memorable, and songs that drive the point home without being stuck in your head for days afterward.

What is perhaps most jarring to me about Newsies is the realization that Christian Bale’s early career was more than just Empire of the Sun - Bale was a full fledged child actor that has managed to morph into one of the biggest stars today. I can only hope that Bale will continue acting for many years to come so that the audience can continue to watch his progress through the silver screen and see what Bale will be like when he is the next Sean Connery.

Director: Kenny Ortega
Writers: Bob Tzudiker & Noni White
Jack Kelly: Christian Bale
David Jacobs: David Moscow
Denton: Bill Pullman
Pulitzer: Robert Duvall

Jack Kelly: You only took 20 papes; why?
David Jacobs: It's a bad headline.
Jack Kelly: Well, dat's da foist thing ya gotta learn - headlines don't sell papes. Newsies sell papes.

Wonder Boys

I first saw Wonder Boys my senior year of high school; I hadn’t realized that movies were my future yet, I just thought they were an amazing way to pass time and the video store was a great way to earn my first pay check. Yet, when I saw Wonder Boys it was the first film that really affected me on an artistic level. The film is a rich story full of flawed characters that was somehow the most exaggerated and most real film I had ever seen.

Grady Tripp teaches graduate students how to write the next great American novel; he’s qualified for his because eight years ago he wrote the great American novel…and he hasn’t finished a novel since. Grady doesn’t know what to do to get out of his funk and he finally has to confront it in one weekend when His university is having it’s writers gala, his editor Crabtree is flying in to check on his novel, his wife leaves him, his girlfriend tells him she’s pregnant and two of his students test his limits. Finally, the past eight years come flying into Grady’s present and he has to decide for his life and his novel – where does it go?

The saddest thing about Wonder Boys is not the sorted tales of Grady Tripp, but the serious lack of Oscar attention it received. This film should have garnered nominations for most of the actors, Curtis Hanson and basically the main awards; instead, the film was only nominated for editing, adapted screenplay and won the Oscar for best original song. This film was one of the best of 2000, and though the critics loved it the film went wholly unrewarded.

I have to say that the most spectacular aspect of Wonder Boys has got to be the writing. If you want to see a movie that has a brilliant yet subtlety intricate plot and dialogue that will make you laugh at the witty awkwardness of the characters Wonder Boys is the movie for you. This film is a unique slice of life and every character and situation, twist, and turn serves to move the characters further down their character arch into the plots stunning conclusion. This movie is a must-see for any perspective director or writer, as it can be studied as a nearly perfect film.

Director: Curtis Hanson
Writer: Steve Kloves
Grady Tripp: Michael Douglas
James Leer: Tobey Maguire
Sara Gaskell: Frances McDormand
Terry Crabtree: Robert Downey Jr.
Hannah Green: Katie Holmes

Vernon Hardapple: Why did you keep writing this book if you didn't even know what it was about?
Grady Tripp: I couldn't stop.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I Love You, Man

I Love You, Man
Originally uploaded by Mrs. JiJi Bean
The last time I saw I Love You, Man was with my younger brother, he loved it as did I. I didn’t find anything surprising in this as the movie is really aimed at the male gender, and I don’t typically like the majority of “chick flicks” out there, but I Love You, Man is right up my alley. This time I took my best friend Stefanie to the film; I was pretty sure that she’d like it but there is just enough testosterone in the film that I wasn’t sure she’d like it as much as I did.

The good news? We saw the film Friday, today is Sunday and she’s still quoting it. In fact, as we were about to play Wii golf she looked at me and said “This is my nightmare!”

I really loved I Love You, Man. While it hasn’t creped into Tropic Thunder territory for me yet, the film is definitely one of the best comedies I’ve seen this year, and one of the best films so far this year. I have never seen any of John Hamburg’s directorial efforts, but I enjoyed the styling of I Love You, Man enough that I will see the next film that Hamburg makes.

Sydney Fife: Society tells us we're civilized but the truth is we are animals. Sometimes we just have to let it out. Try it.
Peter Klaven: Blaaah!
Sydney Fife: Good. Now gently remove your tampon and try again.

Iron Man

Don’t kill me. Iron Man 2 starts shooting tomorrow and I’m jealous.

I’m actually perusing the work of Jon Favreau, as an actor and a director. Let me tell you, the man is rapidly rising on my list of Hollywood celebrities that I completely respect. Why? He delivers.

There is a reason that Jon Favreau’s fourth directorial project was one of the biggest hits of last summer – Favreau is smart and he know’s what he’s doing. Iron Man is the perfect example of that.

Anyone that has avoided seeing the movie because it’s a “summer movie”, or “it’s gotten too much hype” just needs to get the DVD and experience what I’ve been raving about for almost a year now. While you won’t have the same adrenaline rush that the film provided on the big screen it will still completely and totally entertain you, and I can nearly guarantee you that you will begin to be a tad envious of Jon Favreau too.

Scientist: Sir, the technology doesn't exist. Honestly, it's impossible.
Obadiah Stane: Tony Stark was able to build this in a cave! With a box of scraps!
Scientist Well, I'm sorry. I'm not Tony Stark.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


more extra ntf 13.14
Originally uploaded by sean's jawns
Now the entire world is aware of Jon Favreau, he is the director that brought Iron Man to life, but in 2001 he made his directorial debut with Made a story about Bobby (whom he also played), a down on his luck wannabe boxer who struggles day to day with trying to provide for his girlfriend Jessica & her daughter, and helping his best friend Ricky. Bobby turns from his stripper-girlfriends body guard to her boss Max’s tough guy & he heads with Ricky to New York to start his career as a mob henchman.

This shows the mark of a directorial debut; while Made is an good movie it doesn’t quite feel like Favreau’s subsequent films. The biggest difference would probably be the tone of his later films. Beginning with Swingers (Favreau’s debut as writer) all of Favreau’s films have been upbeat, if not lighter in tone than Made.

What made Made the most memorable to me is the end of the film. I spent most of the film wondering what the point of the story was and I was not disappointed; Bobby spends his journey through the film trying to provide for his family unit – Jessica & Chloe – only to finally find out that he’s providing for a woman that doesn’t want to be provided for. However, that’s when Made becomes the film that makes it original. Made is about fatherhood; while Jessica fails at being the “wife” she recognizes that Bobby is a better parent to Chloe than she is and allows Bobby to take her daughter as his own. It was a unexpected poignant moment added into the story, that shows Favreau’s true talent as a filmmaker.

What was strange to me in Made is that I spent most of the movie wanting to slap Vince Vaughn. He spends most of the movie seemingly doing everything possible to grate on your nerves, and to do it at top volume. I can’t decide if his performance was meant that way (because he does serve a point) or if it is one of the marks of Favreau’s first try at directing.

I adore Favreau. As a director myself I cannot figure out how he manages to act and direct in his own films, especially a film like Made where he plays the title character. I am excited to be a Jon Favreau fan because I feel like I can watch every film he makes as he makes it and watch his career as it happens. I am truly excited to see where Favreau’s career goes.

Director & Writer: Jon Favreau
Bobby: Jon Favreau
Ricky: Vince Vaughn
Jessica: Famke Janssen
Chloe: Makenzie Vega
Horace: Faizon Love
Max: Peter Falk
Ruiz: Sean Combs

Ricky Slade: You got an ash tray? How about an ash tray? Can I color me that?