Saturday, June 29, 2013

1864 - A Thousand Words

Well this was a pleasant surprise.  I have to say that I'm not entirely up on my Eddie Murphy cannon, but this has to be one of his best from recent years.  It's a pretty-by-the-book film in terms of it's story points and all that jazz, but it's a comedy with heart and I'm always up for those.  A smooth talking agent is given a curse that allows him to speak only a thousand more words before he dies.  Eddie Murphy is solid here, as is one of my favourite young comedic actors, Clark Duke.  This isn't the kind of film I'll ever need to revisit but I enjoyed it for what it is.  If you're looking for a light uplifting comedy then this might be just what you need.  It's cute, and surprising.

Friday, June 28, 2013

1863 - i am a good person / i am a bad person

I wanted to see this film when it was screening in Toronto at The Royal, and I've since been told that it's essentially impossible to see now, something over a music rights thing.  So I had to track this down through my Canadian-indie-film mafia.  I was on a panel for IndieGoGo the other night and Ingrid was in the audience, so after long-last I was finally able to meet her.  Her previous films "Modra" and "Once" were at one point on Netflix, and they may be still - they are worth checking out for sure.
This film is about a filmmaker, played by Veninger, who goes on a European tour with her film and her daughter (played by Veniger's real daughter Hallie Switzer) in tow.  I was a big fan of Switzer in "Modra" and she doesn't disappoint here.  There's a scene inside of a tattoo parlour that could (and should) very well break your heart.
This film could have so easily been really pretentious, but it feels so wonderfully casual that it works.  A bad filmmaker would have let it meander, but this works really well - every move that's made is developing and expanding upon character.  It's slice-of-life but Ingrid doesn't miss a beat or a chance to let us get deeper into these people's brains.  It's a lesson in humility and it's a good one.

1862 - Mad Men: season 6

I've read some complaints about this season, but I don't have a single one.  I don't think this show is for everyone - it's got a pretty specific pace and it takes it's sweet-ass time.  It goes on minor tangents I don't largely care for - but for the most part it hits it's mark and it hits it hard.  I loved watching Don become his own undoing, and Peggy, bless her, be dragged around without any say in what she was doing, but being rewarded and no longer having to feel like she was under the thumb of Don.  The merger of companies was a pretty inspired choice.  I won't be the first to say that this felt like it easily could have been a series finale the way they left things off - but I for one am curious to see what this series does for it's swan song and finale bow.  This show will leave a pretty big hole in the drama world when it comes to a close.

Friday, June 21, 2013

1861 - Juno

I've written about this several times on here, I'm sure.  I've been listening to the soundtrack for this film all day as I've been doing some writing so I decided to get it another look over tonight.  It's such a solid film all the way through - I've often felt that the first act is tonally a bit different but it bothers me a little less and less each time I watch it.  I can let it go.  The cast is perfect, the script is top notch, and the directing choices are so goddamn solid.  This is the kind of film that could so easily be a movie-of-the-week is lesser hands, instead it's already a classic and I hope that it doesn't get lost in this heap of content that's constantly being churned out.  We do still make great films and this is an excellent example.  There's some people who bag on this film - and that's because they're dead inside.  That's right.  I said it.
If you haven't seen this film, shame on you.  Make it happen.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

1860 - Sex Drive

So if you look at this blog regularly you're thinking - wow - Jeremy is a bit of a pervert watching all these sex comedies.  I promise it's for research - not just pure enjoyment.  I remember when I first saw this how impressed I was by it - it really is a funny as hell film.  I watched the unrrated cut - which is a bit bizarre just on it's own - they literally just throw in a ridiculous amount of extra boobs and penises in just to make it a proper unrated cut.  If you've never seen this film you're going to want to check out the theatrical version first. 
This is a typical sex comedy about a guy trying to lose his virginity and the journey he goes on to make it happen.  But it's better than just that - the cast is pretty killer - Clark Duke easily steals the entire film, but James Marsden and Seth Green have fantastic supporting parts as well.  If I have an argument it's simply that the film goes on a lot of tangents mostly because there aren't a lot of natural obstacles to interfere.  Luckily they're entertaining as hell.  If you like your coming of age sex comedies, this is easily one of the best of recent years.

1859 - The 40 Year Old Virgin

Today's my day at home to get some office work done so I'm also re-watching some much loved classics.  I rewatched this last year with the commentary but it's been a LONG time since I've watched the actual film - and it's a good reference for something I'm developing.  This is a cast that would be hard to assemble today if you look at the tremendous talent that's in all of the supporting roles.  What I love about this is that it's, technically, a dirty movie but it's done with such a sweetness.  Steve Carrel is just goddamn delightful here.  You buy into him and his situation without a second thought.  It's so interesting to look at how far Apatow has come since this, especially visually.  No offence to him or his team, but it's not a great looking film - it's not overly cinematic - which makes sense since I believe all his directing experience up to this point was in sitcom, and this absolutely looks like it. 
If you haven't seen this it's kind of a classic by this point.  If you're a fan of comedy you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

1858 - The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Had this on my zip list (use, I still have a account... weird...) I watched this mostly 'cause I'll watch anything with Jay Baruchel in it.  I actually hadn't thought of this being a remake of Fantasia until it got to the broom sequence - which was a really lovely little touch.  I'm a fan of anything with some magic to it, so that was another added incentive to check this out.  It's a fun film - pretty typical hero's journey stuff - saving the world and whatnot - but because of what Jay brings to it it becomes really fresh and fun.  The special effects are pretty great here because of the way they incorporate practical with digital and it really does sell it well.  It's a bit of a fairy tale, really.  Worth checking out and extremely family friendly.

1857 - Gayby

This was a random impulse Netflix watch.  The gist: Two best friends - one gay, one straight, decide to have a child together.  Hilarity tries to ensue.  To be fair, I liked this.  It's cute.  It's not really all that funny.  The leads are fine, but they appear to be a hold over from a short film of the same name/concept and I can't help but think that the film would be stronger had the leads been recast.  If you like indie flicks it might be worth a check out.

1856 - Imagine Me & You

I haven't seen this in a few years and wanted to revisit it for the purposes of research on a project I'm getting involved in.  Re-watching it I must say that I wish we had more time with our two love interests before they decide that they're madly in love with each other.  I get that part of the theme of the film is that you can fall in love in an instant, but as an audience member I want that real estate taken up with our leads.  What I really like about this film is that the third wheel of the love triangle isn't just some over-bearing asshole - so that our hero's choice is obvious.  This film is about a woman who falls in love at first sight to another woman, having just married her best friend - a man.  What makes this film really strong is that it gives her two real world options and so it becomes a real choice.  She doesn't want to hurt her husband, but she can't deny her feelings.  It's pretty gripping stuff.  It's set inside of a light-hearted film so it's not like she has to make this choice whilst living in a society that rejects homosexuality, but it's still engaging nonetheless.  The entire cast is pretty damn strong, especially the members of our love triangle.  I'm not sure where you can source it out, but it's a lovely little film if you can find it.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

1855 - This Is The End

I chose this over Superman, 'cause to me - this is the real superhero flick.  One of the most meta-comedies every - this film tells the story of a group of actor friends who play themselves locked in a house with the apolocolyse forcing them to stick together and discover the true meaning of friendship is.
It's hard to pinpoint a favourite "character" here as I love pretty much all of them.  And I also don't want to give anything away and spoil all the fun that goes on inside of the flick.  It's not trying to be anything than what it is - a fun satire on hollywood and also big action flicks and it work way better than I expected it too.  I'm not going to give away any of the big fun moments, because that's truly for you to discover.  If you're a fan of anyone in this group it's worth checking out.  First time directors did a pretty good job of balancing he tone and also all of the effects that go through this.  

So while it's by no means my new favourite film, it's a bucket full of laughs and entertaining from beginning to end.  Still in theatres.  Go! 

1854 - Nurse Jackie: season five

Oh Nurse Jackie.  You may very well be the most frustrating show that I like.  Here's the deal - you've got some great characters - the writing is often very strong - the stories… I don't know anymore.  It just feels like the show is spinning it's wheels and, especially following the finale of this season, does' t know what to do with it's premise anymore so it's starting to circle back to old territory.  The final beat of this season felt like a plot move, not a character one.  Shame.
Edie Falco is fantastic as Jackie.  Merritt Wever steals every scene she's in, but the new addition of a love interest was my high-light of the season and Adam Ferrara was pitch perfect.

I honestly just don't know how I feel about this show right now - mostly frustrated 'cause I know I'll come back to watch the next season, but I also know that my expectations are so low now.  If you haven't seen this absolutely start from the beginning - the first few seasons are pretty fantastic.  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

1853 - Something Borrowed

I have to say that I was delightfully surprised by this film.  It feels like a very by-the-numbers story, and I supposed to some extent it is, but it also tackles a slightly less pleasant storyline than most rom-coms and it does well by it.  I feel like the characters get let off the hook a little bit in the end, and things work out a little too well - but I can understand the reason for going that route.
Ginnifer Goodwin is pretty delightful, and while her male love interest felt a little flat for me, I still cared about her and her journey.  John Kransinski pretty-much-steals the film in the best friend role and the best writing in the film is the dynamic between these two characters - where they end up is the kind of thing you assume will happen, and I was hoping they'd be a bit more original, but again, it's that kind of film - I totally get it.
It's on netflix, so if you're up for a better than average rom-com (although not really a comedy in any way…) it's worth your time.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

1852 - Bad Teacher

I read the script for this quite a while back and I remember really enjoying it, it translated really well to the screen and Cameron Diaz was a perfect choice - the cast is solid through and through.  The premise, for those who don't know, is about a terrible human being of a teacher who must become a better teacher if she's going to be able to afford a boob job and snag a fellow teacher with family money.  The laughs are frequent and funny, and the film doesn't try to make her into a shinning citizen by the end - she goes through the kind of lessons you want someone like this to go through, but still stay true to their spunky nature.  For the laughs and pure enjoyment it's an easy recommend.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

1851 - The Girl Next Door

It's been a long time since I've seen this film and I'm happy to say it stands up almost ten years later as well as it did when I first say it.  It's the story of an unpopular high-school student who falls for the girl next door, and she's into him as well - and then he discovers she's a former porn star.
It's a super solid sex comedy, but it's a little bit more than that.  Elisha Cuthbert is something special here.  She's gorgeous, sure, there's that.  But she has this amazing vulnerability that comes across here in a really interesting way.  It would have been so easy for her character to be one note, but she's got a strength and a sadness and it comes across beautifully.  Emile Hirsh is perfect, you buy that he could be with this girl, but also that he's had a bit of arrested development himself.  Timothy Olyphant really is the stand-out here - he's the buddy, he's the villain, he's dynamic as shit here. 
If you haven't seen this you really need to check it out.  It's delightful, it's funny, it's sweet.  It's a ride.  Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

1850 - Charlie & the Chocolate Factory

One of my sons favorite books right now is Charlie & the Chocolate Factory so I've been wanting to revisit this, and might the original film as well.  What struck me the most watching this is how uninteresting Charlie Bucket is as a character.  The film is so preoccupied with the spectacle of the factory that Charlie Bucket, even though we know he's a virtuous young man, basically just survives and because he isn't a massive douche like the other kids, he wins.  It's the most affirming.  That said, it's pretty magical to watch, it just doesn't have a story that really takes hold of you and makes you stand up and cheer.  Kind of thankless.  Johnny Depp is stellar as Wonka - I particularly enjoy the way he seems to dislike everyone around him.  I find this film amusing more than anything else.  Worth checking out if you've read the book and haven't seen it yet - not sure it really works otherwise.  Not to bad-mouth it, that's not my intention, it just didn't really grab me the way I was hoping it would.  Alas.

Monday, June 03, 2013

1849 - Orphan Black: season one

I'm going to be completely honest and say that I started watching this film for two reasons:
1) Patriotic Pride: I always try to give Canadian shows the benefit of the doubt
2) A friend of mine is on the writing staff.
But both of the above only buys you really one episode for sure, and the rest have to be earned by the show itself.  I was waiting with baited breath for each new episode.  The show follows the story of a group of women who learn that they are clones of one another - but the big question remains - why?!
Each episode brings us deeper and deeper into the world and the lives of the characters themselves - and it moves at such a cocky pace that you wonder just what the hell they're saving for the swim back.  The writing is pretty fearless in this regard and has no problem putting it's characters into terrible situations.  All of this is already a recipe for a pretty decent show - but then you throw in a powerhouse performance by Tatiana Maslany as all of the clones, and well, then you've got something absolutely special.  From the british street punk, to the suburban mom, token lesbian lab rat, and bat-shit-insane one, Maslany must be exhausted doing all these character so perfectly well and unique.  I can only imagine she's got a team to help her keep it straight.
I want to go into so much detail about so many things - but it's so much better for you to discover it on it's own.  The first season is ten episodes and it's already been confirmed to be coming back (thank you, TV gods!), so if you're a fan of sci-fi at all, or even just enjoy a fun thriller, or better yet - a phenomenal performance, then please get yourself in gear and catch up.
And for you Canadians, this is absolutely something you can be proud of.  Watch it.  Make it happen!

1848 - Mr. Popper's Penguins

I likely never would have seen this film if I hadn't been given a screener of it (for reasons which I cannot recall) and also if I didn't have a 4yr old child.  In terms of Jim Carrey this film felt like a big retread on past roles for him - especially the character he did in Liar, Liar - outside of the magical concept there - here again he plays a goofy professional who isn't a great Dad, but tries really hard to and also wants to reconnect with his child's mother, all the while trying to win a big promotion from bosses who are not the nicest people.  It's kind of a beat-for-beat update on the story in terms of it's structure.  I'd accept this with another actor in the lead, but it feels a tinge lazy given that it's Carrey.
That being said - it's a fun film.  I had legitimate laugh out loud moments and I've honestly never heard my son laugh so hard in all his life - so that alone makes it easy to recommend.  And if you're a hot blooded male whose ever had a crush on Carla Guigino - well there's that too.
As a family film I don't think it's any kind of instant classic, but it's a fun little romp for the kids to enjoy at least once.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

1847 - The Princess Bride

God bless small children for giving you a reason for revisiting your old favourites.  Watched this with my little guy tonight and he loved the shit out of it, which of course made me proud.  My wife threw him some spoilers on the characters and so he was obsessed with trying ti figure out who the six finger man was.
This film is such a fantastic classic.  An endless amount of quotable lines and performances.  It's the kind of family that every one really can enjoy and it stands up viewing after viewing, which I'm sadly learning isn't always the case with some of the films from my youth.  If you've never seen this film, I feel badly for you, please remedy that right away - do yourself a favour and watch it with your favourite kid.