Archive for Movies

Groundhog week

Could I stop time?  Pause life and re-live this week over and over again?  Groundhog day, but like for a week.  Yeah?  You know, Bill Murray’s character was a weatherman, I…  study the weather.  I think it could happen.  Maybe I need to change my alarm clock setting to radio rather than buzz and hope that I wake up to, “I got you babe” tomorrow.



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Band of Brothers

I highly recommend to each of you that you take the time to rent the 5 disks (or just buy it right away) of Band of Brothers.  It is an HBO miniseries that somehow involves Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg … oh shoot, I’ll just steal from IMDB:

This is the story of “E” Easy Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division from their initial training starting in 1942 to the end of World War II. They parachuted behind enemy lines in the early hours of D-Day in support of the landings at Utah beach, participated in the liberation of Carentan and again parachuted into action during Operation Market Garden. They also liberated a concentration camp and were the first to enter Hitler’s mountain retreat in Berchtesgarten. A fascinating tale of comradeship that is, in the end, a tale of ordinary men who did extraordinary things.

Back to me, this series, consisting of about ten, one hour episodes all based on the same group of characters, is going down as one of my all time favorite movies (well, a 10 hour long movie).  The character development is amazing and at the end of each episode I find myself envying the men for their sense of fulfillment and the bonds that they develop with their band of brothers.

I’ve had a World War II/Holocaust interest for several years now, so perhaps my love of this series feeds from that.  My Grandpa was actually a POW in WWII, so I always find myself wondering where he was being marched to as all of the events in these movies take place.  My Grandma was also in the Army in WWII, but she spent her time somewhere in the Pacific.  She was German (not sure which generation in America) and Jewish, so I feel a special bond with the Holocaust stories.  Of course I think it’s difficult for anyone not to feel something for the survivors and victims of the Holocaust.

I’m putting together a list of movies whose historical events take place in chronological order, a sort of movie history class with one rule, I can only put movies I see on the list.  I’ll admit that movies are probably not the most factual way to learn history, but they sure work better than reading awful high school history books!  I’ll probably share other historically based movies as the blog entries go on, but here’s a few of my favorites on my list for WWII:

Band of Brothers

Pearl Harbor

Saving Private Ryan

Black Book

Ann Frank:  The Whole Story

The Pianist

Schindler’s List

Sophie Scholl:  The Final Days

Other unrelated TV series worth renting:

Felicity :  The ultimate college/relationship story that makes a bigger impact in DVD form (rather than watching it on a futon with 6 other girls in the room commenting on it after watching Dawson’s Creek).  I have successfully gotten several people (men and women) addicted to this series.

Arrested Development : Hilarious!

Weeds:  A day in the life of a mother who also is a drug dealer, hilarious.

Dexter:  A day in the life of a serial killer.

From the Earth to the Moon:  Also from Tom Hanks, a story of the Apollo missions.

Well, that should keep you busy for a while! 😉

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Mama Mia!

Two of my girlfriends and I made an attempt to see the movie Mama Mia back in July.  We went to a bar before hand for a quick margarita, only to realize that these margs were fabulously filled with several shots of alcohol.  Two sips in we were giggling uncontrollably and trying to mow down some chips and salsa to absorb the alcohol.  5 minutes before the movie was to begin, we stumbled across the street to the theater only to find that it was sold out!  Bummer!

Today we did a Mama Mia re-do.  We decided NOT to get drunk ahead of time and to try a Sunday matinee at the mall the next city up.  We arrived to find that not only was there no student discount, the 4:15 show was NOT considered a matinee and we paid $9.75 per ticket and $4.75 per small popcorn.  Ouch, this movie had better be good!

Mama Mia was possibly the corniest thing I’ve ever had to sit through.  I’m positive that a margarita would have helped matters.  I’m a huge musical fan.  I listen to soundtracks to Rent, Joseph, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Moulin Rouge, and Disney movies all day long at work while I bounce on my exercise ball and stare at my computer screen, but an entire soundtrack of Abba?  I just couldn’t get on board.  There were several oddities about this movie including some odd sexual suggestions, poor singers (Pierce Brosnan should stick to being James Bond), and men randomly taking their shirts off (okay, okay, I’ll forgive them for that).  Also, how is Colin Firth supposed to be the same age as Pierce and Stellan Skarsgard?  Wow,  just looked this up and Colin isn’t even 10 years younger than them.  Yikes!

Anyways, I’m giving Mama Mia a chance because I remember feeling similarly about Rent and Moulin Rouge when I first saw them (well, you forgive Moulin Rouge within about 5 minutes of the movie, Rent took a few more years).  It’s easy to go to a theater where people act on a stage and forgive them for randomly breaking  out in song, but for some reason it’s just more difficult to do when it’s in movie form.  Growing up I was in a few musicals myself (Joseph, Music Man, Cinderella, Wizard of Oz, probably others), so you’d think I’d be in my element sitting through Mama Mia.  I’ll let it sit with me for a few years and see if I can bring myself to become a fan.

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Well, if Batman didn’t live up to its expectations, Wall-e most certainly did!  Perhaps because I don’t hang out with many 8 year olds, I wasn’t able to have Wall-e ruined with unreachable expectations like Batman was.  Now, let me set unreachable expectations for Wall-e for you!

Wall-e is a Disney/Pixar movie about the future of earth and humans.  The Earth is filled with trash and dust storms and no longer can sustain life (human or plant).  Humans live a space ship and get around on these kick-ass hovercraft loungers with built in computers.  This has made the humans really, really fat.  Wall-e is the twenty first century’s Johnny 5 and he has a romance with sleek-bot Eve that rivals Carrie and Big a la Sex and the City.  The whole movie and all of its characters are just adorable!  You’ll laugh and awww out loud!  Al Gore may have gotten the global warming message out there using power point slides in An Inconvenient Truth, but Wall-e makes a more general point that appeals to kids of all ages, ruin the earth and you’ll end up living on a space ship, drinking meals through a straw, and even though those hover-loungers are cool, who really wants a double chin? Best movie of the summer!  Watch the trailer, then take everyone you know to the theater to see it! WALL-E:  5 of 5 stars

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The Dark Knight

I’ll admit that I went into the movie going experience in a bad mood.  I ate out last night and my food was clearly not gluten free and today I suffered for it pretty terribly.  After sitting through maybe five previews for comic-like movies that I will never see, a preview for Body of Lies with Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe caught my attention.  I will look forward to that coming out in October!  I’m a huge Leo fan, not in a teeny bopper kind of way, or at least I’d like to think so.  Then, the most horrible thing happened.  A Christian Bale movie previews and I find out…  it’s a Terminator movie!  Christian, NOOOOO!  I followed you from Newsies  through 3:10 to Yuma and now you’re going to be in a Terminator movie?  I don’t know if I can continue to see every movie you’ve ever made!

Let me interject with my list of top actors:  Christian Bale, Leonardo DiCaprio, Adrien Brody, and Viggo Mortensen.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to The Dark Knight.  I allowed myself to read a review in Time.  It lead me to believe this was going to be the best movie I had ever seen and probably the darkest I’d seen in a while as well.  This movie got so much hype that it actually sold out in several major cities (or so I heard).  I went in with high expectations.  That, combined with a bad mood, made me pretty disappointed in this movie.  Yes, Heath Ledger was amazing,  Christian Bale was nice to look at, and Alfred will cheer anyone up, but I just don’t think the movie lived up to its expectations.  About half way through the movie I thought to myself, “When is it supposed to get good and dark?”  Then they ended the movie with the wrong climax in order to set up for the third movie, or so I assume.  Remember when you left Lord of the Rings The Two Towers?  I felt tortured having to wait an entire year to find out the grand conclusion (it didn’t occur to me at the time that I could relieve the torture by picking up the book).  Well, I left this movie without that feeling.  I didn’t even care to find out why they left everything hanging (some story lines were left literally hanging).  Don’t get me wrong, this movie was good and entertaining and you should make a point of seeing it if you liked Batman Begins, it just wasn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen, nor will I need to see it again and again and again.

I felt similarly about Sex and the City.  One or two major script errors ruined the movie for me.  Perhaps the only thing that could save this summer in movies is seeing Indiana Jones or Iron Man?  Netflix is torturing me right now too, there just aren’t any good movies coming out.  I just looked back through my movie rating history and it seems that I haven’t given 5 stars to a movie since… well, I’ll save that for another entry.

The Dark Knight:  4 of 5 stars.

P.S.  Maggie Gyllenhaal is NOT Katie Holmes.

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