July 15, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

I entered the movie theater shivering. This was it. The big kahuna. The one I had been waiting for with bittersweet anticipation.

Standing in line to enter the theater, I glanced around to see teenage Harrys, Hermiones and Rons all around me. Even a particularly nasty looking Bellatrix shot me a glance. And then there was the massive Hagrid who seemed abnormally large (costume win of the night for sure).

Hagrid and Luna waiting for midnight!
I sat in my seat as wizards dueled up and down the aisles. "Avada Kedavra!" someone yelled. I turned to my friend and shook my head. "She's dressed up as a Gryffindor," I said, my voice tinged with disappointment (and a British accent). "A Gryffindor would never use an Unforgivable Curse in a proper Wizard's Duel." I shook my head. "Muggles."

Conversations swirled around me but I couldn't participate. I was too excited. And saddened. Harry Potter has been such an integral part of my life. And this was the end. Except not. Thank god for Pottermore (coming soon).

And then the previews started. Some of them looked good, but I was in no state to pay attention or fully remember any of them. And then, without warning, the camera began to sweep across the ocean towards Dumbledore's grave. Voldemort had taken the Elder Wand.

July 10, 2011

Horrible Bosses

"I'm gonna kill him" is an expression that's become an everyday occurrence. Of course, the rest of us probably don't have psychotic, borderline rapist cokeheads for bosses. Or maybe some of you do. I don't know where you work.

Anyway, this is the premise of Seth Gordon's new film Horrible Bosses. Basically, these three guys - Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman), Dale Arbus (Charlie Day of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis of SNL) - have had enough. Each of their bosses are totally insane. 
Nick, who works in finance, works for Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), a crazy evil psychotic man who refuses to allow anyone into higher level positions while simultaneously torturing Nick with his evil ways. Not so fun. Meanwhile, Dale is a dental assistant to Dr. Julia Harris, DDS (Jennifer Aniston), who consistently grabs his crotch and tries to force him to have sex with her. Which doesn't seem too bad because Jennifer Aniston has never looked sexier in a film, except that Dale is engaged. And then there's Kurt, who works at a chemical company for Jack Pellitt (a Donald Sutherland cameo - very high profile), who is simply the nicest man in the world. Until he dies and his son Bobby (Colin Farrell), a coked up crazy partier who just wants to milk the company for all the money left in it, takes over.

June 27, 2011

My Top 25 Best Animated Films

Time Magazine just came out with their list of the Top 25 All-TIME Best Animated Films. I have quite a few disagreements with the list. Some films should not be on there at all and some were blatantly ignored. How did Kung Fu Panda end up on there? Really?

So here is the list I wrote up. I think it’s fairly decent. Let me know what you all think.

My List of the Top 25 Best Animated Films

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Disney Special Platinum Edition)25. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
As the first feature in the Disney Vault, Snow White has to be on the list, so I put it last because while it is clearly an achievement in cinema – from the bright colors, vivid imagery, use of the multi-plane camera, etc.- Snow White’s voice is so freaking annoying, like nails on a chalkboard. And this is coming from a true Disney addict. So while the movie should be on the list, I morally can’t place it any higher.

June 23, 2011

To Steal a Diamond

It's amazing how fascinated people are by material things. Not to sound like I'm above it all. I'm right in there with the rest of the world. I think deep down, we're all a bit materialistic.

Which is why there are always a ton of movies about thieves and robberies and all that jazz. So today we're going to have a little chat about what I think are the 5 best films about stealing diamonds.

In no particular order:

A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

A Fish Called Wanda

So I may have lied a bit when I said that this wasn't in order, because this film is absolutely my favorite film  that I'm putting here. The film follows an odd foursome - gangster and leader George Thomason (a twist on the name of the actor who plays him), crony Ken Pile (Michael Palin), con artist Wanda Gershwitz (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Otto West (Kevin Kline), the latter two having been brought in from the outside.

Honestly, the theft itself is not the focus of the movie, unlike most heist films. In fact, the heist is easy and goes without a glitch, except for one little old lady who happens to see them. So they hide the diamonds and walk away, only to have Wanda and Otto turn in George and try to take the loot for themselves).

June 20, 2011

X-Men: First Class

Last night I went with my dad to see X-Men: First Class after weeks of anticipation- and it did not disappoint. Yes, there was a great hype around the film, a hype almost as large as Alex Summers' ego (watch the film if you don't get that), but I believe that Matthew Vaughn has directed my favorite film in the X-Men series.

From left: Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Rose Byrne as Dr. Moira McTaggert, January Jones as Emma Frost, Jason Flemyng as Azazel, Nicholas Hoult as Dr. McCoy/Beast, Lucas Till as Alex Summers/Havok, Zoe Kravitz as Angel Salvadore, Jennifer Lawrence as Raven/Mystique and James McAvoy as Professor Charles Xavier.

I have to admit that it is a difficult statement for me to make. The original two X-Men films were dark and real and the pain and rejection that the mutants felt was tangible on the screen. I really did love them. Just don't get me started on The Last Stand.

That being said, Vaughn's approach to First Class was unique to the series in that it was not a comic book being turned into a movie, but rather a comic book that was transferred to the screen. The wit and humor of the original comics was still there while still framing an action packed story. Perhaps the most purposefully direct homage to the comics is the film's training montage, which literally frames the images in comic book panels across the screen. Pretty clever.

The character development throughout the film was pretty good, although I did feel that some parts were lacking. First, there's Professor X. Honestly, as one of the most interesting characters in comic history and the most openly mysterious

June 18, 2011

A Birthday Note to Roger Ebert

Dear Mr. Ebert,

I'd like to start off by wishing you a very wonderful and happy 68th birthday today. It really is amazing that you have been writing reviews for the Chicago Sun Times since 1967 - that's 44 years of reviewing film.

So yes, being one of the longest running and most famous film critics in the world is a true accomplishment, and it is no secret that people trust and respect your opinion more than any other critic today.

But the truth is, it's more than your consistency and skill in reviewing that has made you arguably the most important film critic today. It's the fact that you, along with others, such as the amazing Pauline Kael (I must give credit where credit is due), finally gave a VOICE to criticism. I took a film class first semester in which we read a bunch of reviews for Katharine Hepburn films, from both the time of release and more modern times. The truth is, reviews that came before seemed to have no spirit, no spark that reflects whether the critic had a passion for the film or not. It was either great, good, average or bad.

And then I read your review for Guess Who's Coming for Dinner, which you wrote in your second year of reviewing for the Sun Times, and I was immediately engrossed.

Chihuly - Through the Looking Glass

Today I went to the Chihuly - Through the Looking Glass exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and I have to say, my mind was blown.

Which is an interesting phrase to choose, seeing that Dale Chihuly specializes in blown glass sculptures.


Anyway, the exhibit was truly incredible to see. The technique and refinement with which each piece of glass is blown is exquisite, although the credit for the actual blowing technique should be accredited to his team, as he is no longer able to blow the glass himself.

But that should not by any means take away the credit from Chihuly himself. While the glass does not come directly from him, the ideas and concepts are Chihuly through and through, as indicated by the magnificent drawings he made, as the colors help inspire him.

This Ikebana Boat is one of the first things you see when you walk in. It was inspired by a time in which Chihuly was throwing glass into a river in Finland (or some other country in Northern Europe) and had the Finnish boys collect the glass in their boats. Personally, I think that this is what it would have looked like if the singing sea creatures had overtaken Ariel and Eric's boat during 'Kiss the Girl'.

June 15, 2011

And the Academy does it again…

So as many of you have probably heard, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have announced yet another curveball headed in our direction. Yes. The number of nominees in the Best Picture category has been changed again.

But not to any old number. Like the pre-1944 Oscars, the number of pictures nominated will actually be based on pure merit. If a film is good enough to be voted in as a nominee, well then it will.
However, unlike pre-1944, the number of nominees must be between 5 and 10 rather than 8 and 12.

Check out the article on TV Guide.

So is this a good thing?

Absolutely. Positively. Undeniably and reliably.

Limiting it to 5 is limiting some of the great films made that maybe didn’t have the commercial success or widespread release of its competitors, meaning that films that may be of a high enough caliber

June 13, 2011

The Truth is Out There

A dark corner. Something in the shadows. We are all fascinated by what we cannot understand. Ancient cultures tried to explain these phenomena by creating mythical gods that control the universe. Whether Zeus or Thor or Set, someone had to be controlling the lightning.
So now that science can explain a fair portion of our world (or so we think), what are we left to imagine? Can the world really be a series of chemical formulas, numbers and equations? What lies beyond the veil of modern science, things that will go unexplained for hundreds of years?
Thankfully, we have a little thing called film and television to help spark our imaginations and help us to see the possibilities of the world beyond science. Maybe they aren’t the most realistic of situations, but in 20 or 30 years, who knows? Maybe we’ll have unlocked some more of the universe’s mysteries. I know that I’ll be one of the first people to try to buy a teleportation device when it comes out! (Oh, the wonderful idea of having dinner in Italy and doing homework on a beach in Hawaii, after which I could go back to my bed at school. Not that I’ve thought about this constantly.)
So today, I’m going to focus in on our (and by our, I mostly mean my) fascination with the strange and possibly paranormal. Not that I actually believe in ghosts, but hey, I like to think of myself as open-minded. If a ghost floated down in front of me, would I deny it was there? No. Probably not.

June 12, 2011

Midnight in Paris

I love the movies. And I love Woody Allen movies. Even Scoop.

So I went into the theatre (which was sold out for an earlier viewing) with pretty decent expectations for Allen's newest film Midnight in Paris, but I have to say, it surpassed them all.

The film was stunningly shot, another one of Allen's perfect homages to one of the world's great cities. And he doesn't let you forget it. From the opening sequence of Paris' amazing monuments and cultural sites in the sun and rain, which throughout the film, seems to make Paris all the more beautiful, Allen makes sure that we know that this is freaking Paris and magic can happen.

June 5, 2011

"East Harlem" - Beirut

So I don't know how many of you know about Beirut. I had heard of them awhile ago but I never really thought much about them until I heard "Scenic World" at the Arts House Dance Company show this Spring. (They're amazing. Check them out)

Also watch this cool stop motion music video of the song that I saw online.

Anyway, today I heard their new single "East Harlem" for the first time.

It's really chill and smooth and just plain nice to listen to. Also, the puppies on the single cover are just plain adorable. I can't even handle it.

Anyway, while the lyrics are pretty morbid and sad, the upbeat tapping of the tempo gives it the perfect rainy day feel. I just want to drive and listen to this all day long. That's something I've always admired about Beirut. They don't just let the morbidity overwhelm the song. I feel like behind every sad lyric there is a positive beat that seems to say, "Hey. Sometimes shit happens and it sucks but try to remember that there's plenty of good to come."

Beirut - East Harlem

It definitely won't be up some people's alley. It's a folksy song and Beirut is either hit or miss (at least for me), but I think this song is a pretty good hit.


June 4, 2011

Cult Film Spotlight: Heathers

I've always been a huge fan of dark comedy and cult films. They're fun and witty and so horrific that you have to laugh at the gore.

Which is why I need to make sure that everyone in the world has seen Heathers.

Let's just say this film is pretty much the original Mean Girls....

But on steroids.

Released in 1989, the film stars Winona Ryder as Veronica Sawyer, and angsty girl in the popular clique at her school, which consists of her and her three friends, Heather Chandler (Kim Walker), Heather Duke (Shannen Doherty) and Heather McNamara (Lisanne Falk). But she hates her friends and wants to rebel against their nasty ways - which span from ruling the school with spite to torturing innocent overweight girl Martha "Dumptruck" Dunnstock. So when Veronica meets bad boy J.D (Christian Slater) and he pulls a gun on some jocks in school, she is obviously going to be smitten.

Thrills that kill

So basically sometimes you can feel sad and bored.
Remember the days when everything in the world was new and exciting and everything you did was going to change your life and was a source of inspiration.
Like this kid riding his bike. Yeah, he fell.

But just look at that positive attitude. How many of us have that kind of attitude? Not very many I can tell you that. But what I also can tell you is to try and do something that after you're just kind of like


Can't hurt to have some thrills in your life. That's why I want to go skydiving. Really really badly. I was told not to do it and that it's dangerous and blah blah blah, but what mom doesn't know won't hurt her.

Just possibly me.

Oh hey

So yea. I've decided that I have a lot to say and it's about time I get it out there because it seems that everyone else is doing it. I really did try to avoid the whole social blah blah blah at first, but it's too freaking fun! And let's be real. Who am I to not follow the pack?
I'm Adam. Hi.
So that's my introduction to everyone.
Let me warn you, I will be rambling in this blog. I feel like I have a billion thoughts stuck in my mind and no matter what I do, I can't seem to get rid of them. Maybe writing them down will help me sleep at night. Or melatonin. I hear that stuff works wonders. I can't try it though. My mother is very much against me taking sleeping medication to help me fall asleep. She thinks I'll become addicted.
Which takes me to the first thing I'm going to tell you about myself.

Lesson 1: Insomnia
When I was a child I had major insomnia. As in, I was the only third grader who went to bed after midnight. And like the geek I 
 am, I would stay up under the covers with a flashlight reading. Usually Harry Potter.
Which brings me to

Lesson 2: Harry Potter
Ummm.... 7th movie is coming out in July! End of my childhood perhaps? All I know is that I cried a lot when Dobby died in the movie (obviously I was in hysterics when anyone died in the book - from Sirius to Dumbledore to Dobby to all 50 trillion people in the last battle scene). Anyway, I love Harry Potter. I read the first one in first grade and now, at age 19, Harry will kill Voldemort and I will no longer be the 11 year old kid waiting at his mailbox for an owl to come with my acceptance letter. Whatever. I know that they must have just forgotten about me. Or maybe there are no American wizards? Just kidding, I know there are because I was the American team in Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup for Gamecube.
Speaking of which - would it be weird to join the Quidditch team at school? Not that I care what other people think. I mean, I do, but not when it comes to Quidditch. I would definitely be Seeker.

Lesson 3: Chaos
In case the fact that I listed Harry Potter as the 2nd most important lesson, and insomnia as the 1st, my mind doesn't really go in order. I kind of just have a stream of thoughts and I put them down in no particular order because why not? So that was a pretty brief lesson.
Some other notes that are way more important than the lessons which aren't really lessons just me being an idiot as per usual:
  • I'm totally into film, as you will see by my later posts. Cinema Studies major what up?
  • I love fantasy books intended for preteens even though I'm in college (Percy Jackson, The Hunger Games, etc.).
  • I love watching TV and movies.
  • I eat as if there's no tomorrow. Although I do believe there will be tomorrow. Everyone's got to get over this apocalypse nonsense. Be a little glass half full, thank you very much.
That's pretty much all I can think of right now. Many more posts come.