Thursday, May 31, 2012

Day 175

movie: Thank You for Smoking
starring: Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello
genre: Drama, Comedy
format: TV EDIT

plot: A spin doctor for the tobacco companies starts to question why he's doing what he does when a reporter prints a story about him and he gets kidnapped.

Serious topic done in a witty way.  Not too sure what the message here is.
You start off thinking of the main characters as the bad guys, then as victims, then as really bad guys, then sort of as the underdogs. 
This has more to do with the way the lead character interacts with society then it does about the actual topic of smoking.

what do i think i learned from this film?
If you know how to express both sides of any debate, then you will always have the upper hand.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day 174

movie: The Family Stone
starring: Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker
genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
format: TV EDIT

plot: A New York couple go to stay with his family for the holidays, and invite her sister along. Soon it's clear that the family would prefer he marry the younger sister and not the woman he's been dating.

This was a tv edit, and somehow, it felt like it was missing something. But then again, many times I've found that a tv edition of a movie is not only cut for time and content, but can be cut to direct what that station feels is the main plot.

what do i think i learned from this film?
The holidays are never the time to bring someone new to visit the parents.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 173

Movie: Nothanger Abbey
Starring: Felicity jones, JJ Feild,
Genre: Drama, Romance
Year: 2007
Format: DVD

Plot: Catherine Morland is a dreamer. While on a vacation with her aunt and uncle, she is befriended by both the Tilney's and the Thropes.  While staying with the Tilneys at their gothic home, she imagines the house to be haunted. Soon, Catherine learns that her brother is to marry Miss Thorpe, who has not been at all faithful to him.

This is based on the Jane Austen novel of the same name. It's also a made for tv movie.

Nothanger Abbey is one of those stories that leaves you sighing at it's innocence and wanting to scold the lead character for just that, her innocence.
The questions about honesty are at the forefront as much as the topic of love and romance are.  It is also about the heart or mind of the writer herself.  Everything that happens in the life of the main character is seen through a filter of the novels she reads.

What do I think I learned from this film?
Honesty is still the best policy. Everyone needs dreams, they are what drives us towards a place in life. This was Jane Austen's first novel, and you can see how influenced she was by the idea that writing was not always the thought after ideal for a lady. Her doubts on the topic appear throughout but so does her passion for the act of writing. In a sense, the character of Catherine is the author herself, Jane Austen. This story, has always spoken to me on a few levels, the pursuit of passion and imagination being one of the reasons.  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Day 172

movie: Xanadu
starring: Olivia Newton-John, Gene Kelly
genre: Musical
year: 1980
format: Cineplex Digital

plot: One of the Greek Muses is given the task of inspiring an artist to open up a disco

Uh-humm... Okay, I'd never seen this film before, and now I'm wishing that I hadn't bothered.

There is little dialog and what there is, doesn't really give you much. This movie feels like it has a split personality, like it can not make up it's mind if it wants to be a 1940's style film or a 1980's rock video.

The whole time I was watching this, I kept thinking that it must have been based on a rock opera- broadway play... turns out there is a broadway play, but it didn't come out until 28 years after this film was made.  Maybe the producers of this muck were just a few decades ahead of themselves?

what do i think i learned from this film?
Art is in the eye of the creator. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Day 171

movie: The Woman in Black
starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds,
genre: Horror, Thriller,
year: 2012
format: Shaw Video On Demand

plot: A young lawyer is given the task of going through personal papers of a recently dead woman.  After seeing a strange person in the house of the dead woman, the children in the village start to die. The young lawyer has one chance to stop the deaths, but can he do it in time?

This is based on both the book and stage play.

This is a Hammer film, and makes excellent use of shadows and silence to create the spookiness that are more frightening then some of the special effects.

what do i think i learned from this film?
There is no one better at spooky then Hammer films, or a really great British film for that matter.  When you've created a truly great piece, it will stand the test of time.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Top 5 Movies about Writers

 There are so many movies out there that have been based on books, as well as the amount of movies that have tackled the topic of the writers.  These are some of my favourite films that deal with the author.

2. Secret Window
3. Becoming Jane
4. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
5. The Rum Diary

I have to admit, I normally stop at just 5 in a listing, but this topic is so close to my heart that I had to add a few extras in a Bonus list.

2.Starting Out in the Evening
3.Where the Buffalo Roam
4. Julie/Julia
5. Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle

Now, some might be thinking that Julie/Julia is just a foodie film, and on the surface it is, but the subplot here is that both women were writers.  Julia Child wanted to be a cook and found herself writing a cookbook, articles and letters to people in the food community; and Julie Powell wanted to be a writer and found herself cooking and blogging about it.

Another thing here, half the films in this list(s) are Bio-Pics. Not too mention, three of them have to do with Hunter S. Thompson.

Day 170

Movie: Never Been Kissed
Starring: Drew Barrymore, David Arquette
Genre: Comedy, Romance,
Year: 1999
Format: TV EDIT

Plot: A journalist gets her first undercover assignment, and has to go back to high school and blend in.

What was it with the 1990's and high school movies? Or for that matter plopping a band in the middle of the film for no reason?

High school was horrid first time around for many, no idea why anyone would want to do it over?

I didn't like it at all.

What do I think I learned from this film?
I learned what I already knew, for many high school is never over.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 169

movie: Raising Helen
starring: kate Hudson, John Corbett
genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
year: 2004
format: TV EDIT

plot: After the death of her older sister, a young woman suddenly finds herself in charge of raising the three young children. Which leaves to  having to move, change her job, and in a new romance.

This is one of those "you have to grow up because the rest of the world thinks you're immature" movies.
It had it's moments but plays out like an after school special.
The only thing that stood out in this film was the purse she carries through the whole thing.

what do i think i learned from this film?
It only takes one really great scene in a film to make a fashion statement.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 168

movie: Sex and the City 2
starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis
genre: Comedy, Romance, Drama
year: 2010
format: DVD

plot: After attending their best gay friend's wedding, Carrie and the rest of the gang go on a trip to the Middle East and end up in not only a culture shock but in trouble with the law.

This could be considered season 8 by fans.

This film picks up two years after the first movie, and puts everyone 12 years into the story lines of their characters. The opening scene which talks about how they all met, differs greatly from the version that author Candace Bushnell created the same year in her prequel novels Carrie Diaries and Summer in the City.

The first time I saw this film, I hated it. I thought it was such a disappointment from the rest of the series.  But after seeing the movie a few times, I get the point of it all.
We start with a wedding between two of the long standing male characters, and move into the topic of how women are still being seen outside of Canada and the US.  This is bridged with the idea of how marriage is viewed. 
Who are we to judge someone else's views?

what do i think i learned from this film?
Everyone has the right to make their own rules in their relationships. And sometimes, a short break is just what you need to clear your head and focus on what's truly important.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 167

movie: Death at a Funeral (Remake)
starring: Chris Rock, James Marsden
genre: Comedy,
year: 2010
format: Shaw Video On Demand

plot: During the funeral for their father, a family learns that their dad had a secret lover.

This is the American remake of the British film from 2007.
I didn't see much difference between the two versions of this film other then the amount of language in this one.

I have to admit, I did prefer the British version better as it just seemed to give the jokes more punch with the backdrop of the British upper class.

what do i think i learned from this film?

Remakes are not always needed, and you can know someone a lifetime and never really know them

Monday, May 21, 2012

day 166

movie: Jesse Stone Benefit of the Doubt
starring: Tom Selleck, William Devane
genre: Crime, Action, Drama, Comedy
year: 2012
format: TV EDIT

plot: Two cops are murdered in a small coastal town, and retired police captain Jesse Stone is called back to duty to solve the murders.

This is a made for tv movie based on the books

Warning- this is not a stand alone film.   If you're coming into this series of made for tv movies blind like I was, you won't be able to really understand everything happening.  I didn't catch as much of the movie as I would have liked because I was watching this with my mother who was giving me a running commentary about the other movies in the series. 
In other words, you really need a back story on this.

what do i think i learned from this film?
William Devane... enough said!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Day 165

movie: Sex and the City the Movie
Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall
genre: Romance, Drama, Comedy
year: 2008
format: DVD

plot: Carrie is finally marrying Mr. Big after 10 years of dating. But before the wedding, Miranda finds out Steve cheated and in her anger tells Big that he's making a mistake. Then when he ends up leaving Carrie at the alter, the rest of the gang take her to Mexico. We then follow her over the course of the next 8 months as she wonders how to rebuild her trust.

This would sort of be considered season 7 of the series, and takes place four years after the end of the tv show.  There is a short recap of the whole series in the opening credits to catch up anyone who wasn't a fan of the original show.

This movie covers about a year in the lives of the four main characters, through their marriages, their careers and a few major changes in their lives. 

All the elements that made the series the hit it was is there, the humour, the fashion, and the romance.

What do i think i learned from this film?
Love is the only thing that will keep you together. And that sometimes, fairy tales do come true.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

day 164

movie: Alice in Wonderland (Disney)
starring:Kathryn Beaumont, Ed Wynn
genre: Music, Cartoon
year: 1951
format: DVD

plot: Alice follows the White Rabbit down to Wonderland and must find away to get back home while making sure the Queen of Hearts does not cut off her head.

This is the Disney version of the classic story. 
I have to say, I never realized just how violent some of the old cartoons are.  The whole cutting off of someone's head when you're a kid just seems funny, but as an adult it makes you sort of wonder (no pun intended) what Lewis Carroll was thinking? 

There have always been elements of this story that has creeped me out - the Walrus and the Carpenter- but seeing it again all these years later makes me wonder (again, no pun intended) if this was written now would it have been given a G rating?

what do i think i learned from this film?
There is always time for tea and cake

Friday, May 18, 2012

Day 163

Movie: Dracula's Curse ( aka  Dracula 2002)
Starring: Patrick Bergin, Giancarlo Giannini
Genre: Horror
Year: 2002
Format: DVD

Plot: Dracula charms and terrorizes Mina, Lucy and the others in the heart of Budapest.

This is a made for tv movie, not be be confused with the 2006 movie of the same title.

This is yet another adaptation of the classic novel Dracula. 
But like many recent Dracula films, it up dates the whole story for a modern audience. 
Though, not the best version, it does hold it's own extremely well. 

What do I think I learned from this film?
No matter how you package Dracula, the story is always a great one.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 162

movie: Alice in Wonderland
starring: Johnny Depp, Crispin Glover,
genre: Fantasy
year: 2010
format: DVD

plot: Alice falls down a rabbit hole and ends up in a world that is made up of unbelievable creatures. While she's there, she finds out that everyone has been waiting for her for years to fight the Red Queen's Jabberwakie.

Classic adventure story brought to life by Tim Burton. 
Interesting that they set the bookend pieces at a surprise engagement party for the character of Alice.  She tries to escape growing up into the magical world; only to be expected by everyone to do an extremely grown up thing which is battle a dragon.

Having Depp play the Hatter with a bit of a split personality was a good idea but not one that was completely pulled off.  It was almost as if they were cramming two movies into one.  This might have worked better had Burton made both Alice Through The Looking Glass - as one movie and Wonderland - as a second one. 

what do i think i learned from this film?
Sometimes a bit of creativity can take you a very long way.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 161

Movie: Hard Core Logo 2
Starring: Care Failure, Bruce McDonald
Genre: Music, Drama,
Year: 2010
Format: Shaw Video On Demand

Plot: 15 years after the death of Hard Core Logo's lead singer Joe Dick, a female punk singer claims she's possessed by his ghost and calls in the same documentary film crew that followed Joe's last tour to tape her.

I've been a major fan of Bruce McDonald's since Roadkill and Highway 61.  The original HCL became an iconic piece of Canadian culture, and when I found out few years ago that there was going to be a second offering in the mythos, I was beyond happy.  

This was not what I was expecting.  This was drivel.

The lead character is played by Care Failure, which if I understand is the lead singer of a real punk band, though I have to admit I'm not a big punk fan so I never heard of her before this film. 

It started off looking like it was going to blow the roof of the building, but by the end of the first half hour, you start feeling the let down.  Not even the flashbacks of footage from the original film can really piece together the plot of this movie.  It's like it has no plot.  I have to wonder what was going through the head of  McDonald when he was working on this film, as it seems to loose what little identity it has in the end. 
It could have worked well as a major revenge story with  Bucky Haight, who is the only other character than Bruce to carry over from the original film, but it was as if that thought just fizzled mid-write.

Everyone would have been better off if they had done a behind the scenes anniversary addition instead of another mocumentary. 

What do I think I learned from this film?
When you have magick, you can not wait too long to recreate it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 160

movie: center stage
starring: Amanda Schull, Ethan Stiefel
genre: Drama, Music
format: TV EDIT

plot: Following a group of ballet students

In the tradition of Fame, and like a ton of films that came out around that time frame about art students, this one focuses on the lives of a small group of students working their way through their first major ballets.
There are the typical elements, love betrayed, backstabbing, and overbearing parents.
One of the better movies in this dance subgenre.

what do I think I learned from this film?
To reach your goals you have to work your ass off no matter what anyone else might think of you

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day 159

Movie: Fangs
Starring: Corbin Bernsen, Tracy Nelson,
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Format: DVD

Plot: A town is plagued by a horde of genetically mutated bats

This is listed as a horror but it plays more like a crime story.  A bad made for tv crime story.  Although, I don't know for sure if it was a made for tv movie or not?
The plot is thin, we have a university professor who wants revenge on the city's wealthy land owner who's buying up the town to turn it into condos; and the professor is obsessed with bats.  You get the picture of where this is going.
All the horror is done off screen and simply suggested and not in a good way.  Hence what makes me think it's a made for tv movie.

What do I think I learned from this film?
Revenge is not always as sweet as you might think.  You have to play by the rules if you want to be truly loved. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

day 158

movie: new year's eve
starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Hillary Swank
genre: Drama, Romance
year: 2011
format: Shaw Video On Demand

plot: Following the lives of a group of people on New Year's night

This was a train wreck of a movie.  Too many characters, too many storylines to try to follow and sort out.
This film works only slightly better then the previous offering of last year's Valentine's Day which followed half of the same actors in very different roles.  Which also adds to some of the confusion. 

what do i think i learned from this film?
Everyone is connected to everyone else by only one degree.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Day 157

Movie: Hancock
Starring: Will Smith, Jason Bateman
Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama,
Year: 2008
Format: TV EDIT

Plot: A superhero who has no memory of who he really is gets a PR agent and learns that his ex wife is married to the man.

This has a theme of  what would you do for the one you love?
 the main plot lines that were focused on were the idea of real love being something you rarely find and having to let go sometimes. The other theme seemed to be about a new start. As they have the lead character go into rehab then present himself to the world as a better man.

As with it being a tv edit, it's always a bit choppy and leaves you wondering if you got all you were suppose to in it.

What do I think I learned from this film?
Secrets have a way of exposing themselves

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day 156

Movie: 54
Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Selma Hayek
Genre: Drama, Music,
Year: 1998
Format: DVD

Plot: In 1979, a young man decides he wants to be part of the scene at Studio 54, and does whatever it takes to land a job there.  Soon, he's the center of the party and learns that not everything that glitters is real.

This is another of those movies that had a lot of hype and I didn't see it live up to half of it.
I also realize, that it was a semi-fictional version of what really happened back in then.  I just don't understand why they couldn't have followed one real situation for this and made it more of a biopic?

You want to like the lead character, but I found him to just be too unlikeable. 

What do I think I learned from this film?
Nobody rides for free

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day 155

Movie: The Runaways
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning
Genre: Music, Drama, Bio-Pic
Year: 2010
Format: TV EDIT

plot: Set in the 1970's, we follow the beginning of the first all girl rock and roll band.

I have two words for this movie... TV EDIT.

I can't really say if it's all that good because there were more empty audio spots from it being censored then there was dialog, and it was very choppy from being edited for television.

What I did see in this movie was a story about a drug addict.
It seemed to be that was the main thing that this version -middle of the afternoon on a Saturday - wanted to focus on. 

What do i think I learned from this film?
you can't stop rock and roll. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Day 154

movie: batman begins
starring: Christian Bale, Gary Oldman
genre: Action, Crime, Drama
year: 2005
format: DVD

plot: After Bruce Wayne witnesses the murder of the man who killed his family, he runs away to learn about the criminals he wants to get revenge on. Soon, he is back in Gotham and face to face with a master of fear.

This is the beginning of the second series of Batman movies.
This has to be the movie that saved the whole Batman genre, turning around what had become a dead end.

I have always been a fan of the cartoons and original show.  The fact they went with a slightly different  version of the comics for this series was a brilliant idea.  It opened up a new set of rules and possibilities.

what do i think i learned from this film?
You have to face your fears in order to stand strong for your own self.

Monday, May 7, 2012

day 153

Movie: Hook
Starring: Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman
Genre: Comedy, Family, Action
Year: 1991
Format: TV EDIT

Plot: Peter Pan is all grown up and Hook kidnaps his kids to get him to return to Neverland for one final battle.

This is actually not very creative.  I was less then thrilled with the way this movie seemed to drag on without really telling any story.
You spend way too much of the bulk of the film waiting for Pan to remember who he really is.

What do I think I learned from this film?
You can never stop believing in make-believe and playing with your friends.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 152

Movie: Twilight 3 Eclipse
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson
Genre: Drama, Action
Year: 2010
Format: DVD

Plot: Bella's life is once again in danger, this time an army of newborn vampires are heading her way.  The vampires and the werewolves have to work together to keep the town and her safe.

This is the third installment in the Twilight Saga and based on the book.

I have this horrible hate/love thing going with Twilight.  I mostly find it cheesy, and totally disagree with the main idea of the whole "cult of jealous boyfriend" thing, but I really dig the werewolves in this series. 
I've gone on record ripping apart the whole Twilight thing, but I have also agreed the whole mythos around the werewolves is really good.

The acting of the character Bella only slightly starts to loosen up, but Stewart still plays the character like she's on happy pills.

What do I think I learned from this film?
Just because the rear view mirror shows no dangers, you have to remember to check your blind spots. This includes the idea of keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day 151

Movie: Beetlejuice
Starring: Michael Keaton, Jeffery Jones
Genre: Comedy,
Year: 1988
Format: DVD

Plot: A young couple end up in a car accident and find themselves unable to leave the house.  It only gets worse when a new family moves in and they end up getting help from a ghost who removes humans.

The classic comedy that helped to cement Tim Burton as a genius.
What always surprised me with this, was when I talked to people I found I wasn't the only woman who loved it.
There is just something romantic about this film, though I can't really put my finger on it.

What do I think I learned from this film?
The topic of the paranormal can be morbid but not always scary. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

The top 5 movies about Witchcraft

Witches and magic.  Two topics that have supplied hours of entertainment and fear for fans for decades.  Here is a few of my favourite movies about witches and magic

1) Practical Magic
2) Elvira Mistress of the Dark
3) Hocus Pocus
4) Witches of Eastwick
5) The Covenant

And the bonus that did not make the top 5 faves-

-The Craft
-Wicker Man (remake)
-Voodoo (1995)

I think what makes a really great witchcraft film, is something that balances the big Hollywood idea of the topic and what is real. Practical Magic is one of the only films that really manages to do that.

Day 150

Movie: Sleepy Hollow
Starring: Johnny Depp, Miranda Richardson
Genre: Horror, Drama, Crime, Mystery
Year: 1999
Format: TV EDIT

Plot: The village of Sleepy Hollow has had an unusual number of their population killed by a ghost.  It's up to Ichabod Crane to find out who is behind it all

Another Tim Burton/ Johnny Depp film. 
The styling of it is brilliant, the right tones of gloomy are hit.  Classic images of the story are given a bit of a quirky freshness by the duo.

This is one of those films that might have gone wrong.  Ghost stories have mostly been  dealt with, with the extreme horror but this was done with more of a low key idea; giving it more of a crime drama spin. 

What do I think I learned from this film?
This is one of the creepiest stories in the world, no matter how you slice it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day 149

Movie: Mask of Zorro
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins
Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance, Comedy,
Year: 1998
Format: TV EDIT

Plot: After the death of his wife, Zorro disappears. Twenty years later, he resurfaces at the same time that his old enemy has returned to town.  What no one knows is that Zorro has taken on a student and is looking for the daughter that was kidnapped from him.

Ohhh, sword fights!
I think I mentioned once before that I am a sucker for a movie with sword fights.   Otherwise, this is a light movie about a serious topic. Oppression.  It's about a small town that has been run by fear up to that point and needs to be freed.
I say it's a light film because there are so many moments of just pure silliness and comedy that sometimes you forget that this legend always came with a message.

What do I think I learned from this film?
There is a reason we have superheroes, to give us the strength of will to be the hero ourselves.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Day 148

Movie: Contraband
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Year: 2012
Format: Shaw Video On Demand

Plot: When a smuggling goes wrong and the lives of the smuggler's family is threatened, his brother in law has to step in and re-do the job within a week.

This is the English remake of a 2008 film from Iceland.

The plot will seem similar not just because of the fact it is the English version of another film, but because it echoes many themes from the movie Gone in Sixty Seconds.  Which oddly enough, also starred Giovanni Ribisi as a thief who couldn't deliver. 

Normally, I don't like the idea of remaking a foreign film, I would prefer them subtitled; but I understand remaking foreign action films, as it's easier to follow then trying to watch them dubbed or subtitled.
And Beckinsale has become the ideal female action hero, it was both expected and odd seeing her in this film.  Expected because she's one of the few women right now who can pull off the genre naturally, but odd because in this film she plays the victim.

What do I think I learned from this film?
Never promise more then you can deliver, and sometimes, believing in your own hype just isn't enough.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Day 147

Movie: Edward Scissorhands
Starring: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder
Genre: Fantasy, Drama
Year: 1990
Format: TV EDIT

Plot: A young man who is basically the robotic-dead, is adopted by one family in the neighbourhood, and he falls in love with the daughter. Together, they have to deal with the rest of the neighbourhood's prejudice against him.

This can be called Tim Burton's Frankenstein. One of the cornerstones in the modern gothic-pop movement; it helped to make both Burton and Depp the duo they are.

Personally, not a favourite at all.

I can appreciate the dark humour and the art of it, but I think it looses something with the casting of Ryder.  I realize that she was the "it girl" at the time, but I've always felt the placing of her in it was off. {I loved her in Heathers and Bram Stoker's Dracula and Reality Bites but just not in this film} Ryder always feels wooden to me in this role.

This film, works otherwise because of the story and the mixing of decades.  The ideas of the suburban formula of conformity which echoes in the sixties style that many of the characters have, plus the more gothic-punk style given to the lead Edward which is very 1980's; helps to show contrast between the neighbourhood and Edward. This gives the extreme feeling of not fitting in but in such a simple way it's subtle.

It, ironically, can be seen as a foreshadow of the Burton/Depp film Ed Wood. As this would end up being Vincent Price's last movie in a very eerie parallel to what happened to Bela Lugosi in Plan 9 From Outer Space.

What do I think I learned from this film?
Art imitates life, life imitates art, history repeats itself and when a story is classic it's classic for a reason.  This is truly a version of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and a combination of Beauty and the Beast.  Human nature hides some deep rooted fears, such as being unlovable or unfamiliar. The feeling and desire of needing to fit in can destroy some people no matter how innocent they are.