Sunday, September 30, 2012
Looper is a thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a "looper" - an assassin who is hired to kill people from the future, who get sent back in time by the mob to meet their demise. One day, his target is a future version of himself (Bruce Willis). I don't think I'm giving away too much by telling you that, but that's all I'll say.
It was very good, but MAN was it complicated. I felt like my brain was in overdrive the entire time, and I needed several hours afterwards to continue to process it. Even now, the next day, I will think that I grasp everything and then I'll get confused again. My husband claims some of the time travel details were flawed, but I think the flaws are more with me. JGL was great, as per usual, even though his prosthetic Bruce Willis-esque eyebrows were a creepy.
I actually kind of want to see Looper again to see if I can make more sense out of it. But for now, I'll give it an 8.5 out of 10.
I feel like I'd been hearing about Bachelorette for ages, and I really wanted to see it. We thought it would finally be coming to Columbus this weekend but it turned out to have been last weekend, so we'd missed it. But lo and behold! It was available On Demand, which we almost never even look it. So, yay!
Except it wasn't very good. Bachelorette is the story of three women serving as bridesmaids in the wedding of an old "friend" from high school whom they used to ridicule. When they stain and rip the bride's dress the night before the wedding, they set off across the city to fix it, and a variety of hijinks ensue.
I feel like Bachelorette suffered from not knowing what it wanted to be. It seemed like it was trying to be a mean-spirited dark comedy and a touching story about friends at the same time, and it didn't really pull off being either. It had a great cast and some funny moments but overall, it wasn't very funny and it wasn't touching at all - and the parts that were intended to be touching were almost laughable. Pretty much all of the characters were terrible people so it was hard to care very much about any of them. I'd wait until this one comes out on TV. 5 out of 10.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Wow, what a movie. All I knew going into this movie is that it had something to do with someone calling a fast food restaurant with some strange demands and was based on a true story. And I knew that the reviews, while mostly positive, had also been somewhat polarizing. This review is probably going to contain some spoilers, so if you want to go into seeing Compliance cold, then read no further.
Sandra is a harried, middle-aged manager of a fast food restaurant. She is already having a rough day - the restaurant is out of pickles, she's expecting a visit from quality control, and someone left the freezer door open the night before, resulting in $1500 of spoiled bacon. The Friday shift begins normally enough, but just as the restaurant begins getting slammed, Sandra receives a phone call from "Officer Daniels." Officer Daniels claims that he has someone with him claiming that the young blonde girl at the front register stole money from her purse, and that the cashier is also part of a much larger investigation. Sandra pulls Becky (the only cashier who fits the description) into the back office. Over the phone, Officer Daniels gives Sandra orders to search Becky's belongings for the stolen money. She finds nothing. Over the rest of the evening, Officer Daniels walks Sandra, Becky, and a rotating cast of Becky's coworkers through more investigation - each step more invasive than the last. Eventually, the investigation goes too far and it becomes clear that they've been duped.
The progression of Sandra's character was fascinating for me to watch. When the movie begins, she seems to be struggling for control and respect. When she first brings Becky into the investigation, you can tell she feels terrible about what she's doing. But Officer Daniels knows what buttons to push - he is quick to praise Sandra's willingness to help and to show sympathy for her plight as an overworked restaurant manager. As Compliance progresses, you can see Sandra becoming stronger and more powerful. She begins to take it as a given that Becky actually stole something, and becomes much less sympathetic to young Becky.
The other interesting part for me was to try to put myself in the character of Sandra. It is easy to sit in the audience and say, "OMG, he is so obviously tricking her, I would never fall for that." But most people have an innate trust for figures of authority, and you can sort of see why she goes along with it. So maybe I would react the same way if it were me, although I'd really hope not.
I do see why the reviews have been polarizing, and I also understand why some people have walked out of the screenings. It is rough to watch. At one point I turned to my husband and said, "How much longer is this going to go on?" But the ability to polarize its viewers just means that Compliance was an effective movie. When it ended, I felt like I had been put through the wringer - I sort of felt like I had been part of the interrogation. Personally, I thought it was very powerful and thought-provoking. I actually woke up this morning still thinking about it. Which reminds me, Compliance WAS based on true events - I need to Google what actually happened. Okay, enough rambling. 9 out of 10.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Sleepwalk With Me is the autobiographical story of comedian Mike Birbiglia as he gets off to a start in the comedy business. When the film opens, he's working as a bartender in a comedy club and has just moved in with his longtime girlfriend. As the film progresses, he gets hooked up with a promoter and his career begins to take off (though not without a rough - yet hilarious - start), at the same time that his relationship begins to fail. While all of this is going on, he starts experiencing scary bouts of sleepwalking. Yet, he choose to ignore both the failing relationship and the sleepwalking much longer than he should.
In a nutshell, I loved it. I was not familiar with Mike Birbiglia's work (although I'd seem in several smaller roles without realizing it) but now I'd like to read his book after seeing the movie. The cast was excellent and just about anyone who's anyone in the comedy business today has a cameo (even the late great Mitch Hedberg - holla!). The story was fascinating, funny and touching all at the same time. Go see it! This is definitely one of the year's best, in my opinion. 9 out of 10.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
When fall rolls around, I feel like watching scary movies more often than I do the rest of the year. Last night we watched Damien: Omen II. We watched the original awhile back (probably around last Halloween). The original The Omen is the story of a young boy who is the devil, and Damien: Omen II picks back up with young Damien as a 12-year old boy living with his uncle in Chicago. He lives a mostly normal life and attends boarding school and appears not to know of his true identity. He learns who he is, while many of those around him meet their untimely demise.
I always struggle reviewing movies that are older than I am, because there's nothing I can say that hasn't been said before. So I'll just say it was a decent scary movie that at times felt like a Final Destination movie due to the creative and terrible ways in which some of those people die. Not life-changing by any means but a fun movie to watch on a fall evening. 6 out of 10.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
After watching Humpday, a touching comedy about two straight men who want to make a gay porn together, my husband thought Sleeping Dogs Lie would make a good follow-up, as it has a similar tone.
Amy has a secret. A secret involving something she did to her dog one lonely, boring college night. And no, she didn't kill the dog. I'll let you find out for yourself, should you choose to watch it. But let's just say what she did was pretty shocking. Amy is recently engaged and her fiance keeps pressuring her to tell him something she's never told anyone before....and eventually, she caves and tells him what she did. But can their relationship be saved after that?
All in all, I thought it was a cute, funny movie that explores the question of just how much you should tell your partner. And as it turns out, sometimes it's best to let sleeping dogs lie. 7 out of 10.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Our criteria for choosing a movie was last night was as follows: not too long, relatively recent, and something neither of us had seen. 2009's Humpday fit the bill quite nicely. Ben and Andrew are college friends who have gone in different directions in their lives. Ben is married and on the baby train, and Andrew has been traveling the world making art. Then one night, Andrew shows up at Ben's door in the middle of the night. They reunite and get wasted with some new friends and in the process, somehow decide that they should star in a gay porno together. For the artistic merit, of course.
It sounds really silly, but I kind of loved it. It was funny all the way through, and all of the main characters (Ben, Andrew, and Ben's wife, Anna) were likeable, mostly reasonable human beings, which I find kind of rare in movies. Anna isn't thrilled about the idea but she gives Ben her blessing in a way that seems almost logical. You can't really tell if they're going to go through with their plan - and personally, I kind of wanted them to, but kind of didn't. As I commented to my husband when it was over, I found it somewhat amazing that we had just watched a movie that was about two straight guys wanting to make a gay porno together that managed to be funny and downright heartwarming at the same time.
Well worth a watch. 8/10.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Celeste and Jesse Forever is one of those movies that I thought I was going to love. It had all the right ingredients - quirky romantic comedy with a fun cast (Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Ari Graynor, Chris Messina) but I just didn't love it.
Jones and Samberg star as Celeste and Jesse, a 30-ish couple who are divorcing but still act as if they're married. Celeste's career is taking off and Jesse's is not, but they still spend all of their time together and frequently lapse into their private jokes and schticks. Jesse sort of wants to get back together but Celeste doesn't, and then maybe Celeste starts to change her mind, but it's too late - Jesse has moved on and can't really look back.
The plot and the cast certainly had potential, but it just kinda fell flat for me. I didn't hate it by any means and it did have some funny moments, but I found the character of Celeste to be sort of pretentious and unlikeable, even though I think she was supposed to be quirky. Also, I just don't think Andy Samberg is great as leading actor; he's much better in SNL and small roles. Andplusalso, there was a bizarre subplot involving Celeste and the young pop star (played by Emma Roberts) that her company is promoting, which in my opinion felt out of place and completely unbelievable.
All in all, I'd save your money and wait until this one comes out on HBO. I'm actually kind of surprised that it's been getting mostly good reviews from critics. From me, it gets a 5.5 out of 10.