Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Round Up!

It's the end of the year so it's time to look back at the movies I've seen this year and pick favorites. I haven't seen a lot of movies this year so it's tough picking.

Movies I saw in the theater (in chronological order):
Friday the 13th; Confessions of a Shopaholic; Wolverine; 17 Again; Star Trek; The Hangover; The Proposal; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Inglourious Basterds; The Final Destination; Up

Movies I saw on DVD (in alphabetical order):
Bride Wars; The Last House on the Left; My Bloody Valentine 3D; New In Town; Obsessed; Taken

Movies I wanted to see, but didn't get around to seeing (in alphabetical order):
(500) Days of Summer; 2012; Adoration; Adventureland; All About Steve; Amelia; Away We Go; The Box; Brothers; Carriers; Couples Retreat; Drag Me To Hell; Fanboys; Fired Up!; The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; The Haunting in Connecticut; He's Just Not That Into You; I Love You, Beth Cooper; I Love You, Man; Jennifer's Body; Julie & Julia; Knowing; Land of the Lost; The Lovely Bones; My Sister's Keeper; New York, I Love You; Night at the Museum 2; Observe and Report; Pandorum; A Perfect Getaway; Post Grad; Precious; Push; Race to Witch Mountain; Sorority Row; The Stepfather; Sunshine Cleaning; The Time Traveler's Wife; Transformers 2; The Ugly Truth; Where the Wild Things Are; Whip It; Whiteout; Zombieland

My Five Favorite Films of the Year (notice how I say favorite and not best):
1) Inglourious Basterds
2) Star Trek
3) Up
4) Confessions of a Shopaholic
5) G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

My Least Favorite Movies of the Year:
1) Bride Wars
2) The Final Destination
3) New In Town
4) My Bloody Valentine 3D
5) Wolverine

Ten Favorite Performances of the Year (in alphabetical order):
1) Ali Larter (Obsessed)
2) Bradley Cooper (The Hangover)
3) Chris Pine (Star Trek)
4) Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
5) Daniel Brühl (Inglourious Basterds)
6) Isla Fisher (Confessions of a Shopaholic)
7) Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds)
8) Oscar Nuñez (The Proposal)
9) Ryan Reynolds (The Proposal)
10) Sienna Miller (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra)

Movies I'm Looking Forward to in 2010:
The A-Team; And Soon the Darkness; The Back-Up Plan; Black Swan; Blue Valentine; Case 39; Chloe; Clash of the Titans; Cop Out; The Crazies; Date Night; Dear John; Don McKay; Eat, Pray, Love; The Expendables; The Experiment; Frozen; Going the Distance; The Good Guy; Gulliver's Travels; Holy Rollers; The Joneses; The Kids Are All Right; The Killer Inside Me; Killers; Knight and Day; Leap Year; Letters to Juliet; Life As We Know It; The Losers; Love & Other Impossible Pursuits; Machete; Piranha 3D; Red Dawn; Repo Men; The Resident; The Romantics; The Roommate; Scott Pilgrim vs. the World; Shelter; She's Out of My League; Shutter Island; Somewhere; The Tooth Fairy; Toy Story 3; Tucker and Dale vs Evil; Valentine's Day;

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Favorite Films of the Decade According to Flickchart

Flickchart is wonderfully addictive. But I did have to laugh when I checked out my Top 50 Favorite Films of the Decade:

50) Jeepers Creepers (not sure if it would make my top 50)
49) The Notebook (see 50)
48) The Midnight Meat Train (I think this should be higher)
47) 27 Dresses (should be slightly higher I think)
46) Sunshine (also a bit higher)
45) About a Boy (way higher!)
44) Live Free or Die Hard (seems about right)
43) She's the Man (maybe a bit higher)
42) Final Destination (higher)
41) Ghost World (higher)
40) Inglourious Basterds (higher!)
39) Knocked Up (bit higher)
38) Just Friends (higher)
37) Enchanted (higher)
36) All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (seems about right)
35) Mamma Mia! (higher)
34) 50 First Dates (lower)
33) Scary Movie (seems about right)
32) Requiem for a Dream (lower - sorry, it's too depressing)
31) Music & Lyrics (I'm not sure it would be in my top 50)
30) Transformers (lower)
29) Remember the Titans (seems right)
28) 13 Going on 30 (seems about right too)
27) Sin City (higher)
26) The Royal Tenenbaums (seems right or lower)
25) Cloverfield (higher!)
24) Identity (lower)
23) The Butterfly Effect (lower)
22) Saw (bit lower I think)
21) The Hills Have Eyes (seems right)
20) Kill Bill Vol. 2 (I would count Kill Bill as one movie and put it higher)
19) Bring It On (lower?)
18) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (lower)
17) Black Hawk Down (seems right)
16) The Invisible Circus (seems right)
15) Signs (higher?)
14) The Village (lower)
13) Dawn of the Dead (lower)
12) Chicago (bit lower)
11) Love Actually (seems right)
10) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (a bit higher)
09) Serendipity (seems right or lower)
08) Finding Nemo (seems right)
07) A Lot Like Love (lower)
06) Grindhouse (seems right)
05) Kill Bill Vol. 1 (higher)
04) Magnolia (yup)
03) Almost Famous (seems right)
02) The Family Stone (lower)
01) Elizabethtown (it's my fave movie of alltime!)

Notably absent movies I like that may or may not end up on my real favorite movies of the decade list: 28 Days Later, Crazy/Beautiful, Mean Girls, The Sweetest Thing, It's a Boy/Girl Thing, My Sassy Girl, The Mexican, Not Another Teen Movie, Poseidon, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Stardust, Pirates of the Caribbean 1, Into the Wild, Hostel, The Strangers, Across the Universe, Waiting, Mean Creek, White Oleander, Briget Jones's Diary, Ginger Snaps, Freaky Friday.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Review: Lars and the Real Girl

One evening, Lars (Ryan Gosling), an emotionally troubled and isolated young man, introduces a girl to his brother Gus (Paul Schneider) and his wife Karin (Emily Mortimer). To their horror, the girl turns out to be a life-size doll. Fearing Lars has gone completely insane, they consult the town doctor Dagmar (Patricia Clarkson). She asks the couple to go along with Lars's delusion that the doll, Bianca, is a real life person, as Lars needs her to cope with his inner struggles.

I wanted to love this movie, but I wasn't really feeling it. I can't really put my finger on it. I found the movie's way of having Lars deal with his emotional problems by enabling his delusions and dragging the entire town into his fantasy world questionable. *SPOILERS* In the end, Bianca dies. This is a sign that Lars doesn't need her anymore. It's a sign that he is getting better and that he wants to make a connection with a real life girl, the very adorable Margo (Kelli Garner). But that doesn't mean he doesn't have a long way to go. Yet the movie ends on a 'cute' note that Lars & Margo will get together and they all will live happily ever after. It doesn't work that way. Lars is still the guy who, for weeks (months?) had an entire town pretend his doll was a real person. Therapy is needed to deal with this and the dead mommy/depressed daddy issues. But I'm just a therapist, so what do I know? */SPOILERS*

Of course, the whole thing does make one quirky and enjoyable film. Gosling was perfect as Lars, proving once again that he is one of the finest actors of his generation. It was a brave performance and Gosling gave it his all, making sure the movie with the ridiculous premise didn't end up being just that: ridiculous. He made Lars lovable, which is quite an accomplishment.

However, I enjoyed Paul Schneider's performance as Lars's older brother better. Schneider is one of my favorite 'One To Watch' actors. I think he can really shine given the right material and I will always love his performance in Elizabethtown. In Elizabethtown, his character Jesse doesn't take life too seriously. In Lars and the Real Girl, Schneider plays the straight man to Gosling's disturbed Lars. It's a wonderful and subtle performance. You see how Schneider's Gus goes along with the craziness, but you can feel the guilt he feels and the pain of witnessing his baby brother's emotional problems.

Kelli Garner is a delight to watch as Margo, Lars's co-worker who has a crush on him. Emily Mortimer has never been a favorite of mine, but she did fine. I heard her accent slip, but it wasn't too annoying.

I was surprised the movie ended when it ended. I felt they could've done more to resolve the baby subplot. Have Karin go into labor and survive childbirth for example. Lars was freaking out about it halfway through the movie. I don't know why they left that hanging. Or does touching the belly means he's over it? Oh movie logic, I will never understand you.

I wonder how this movie holds up on a second viewing. Either I will gradually learn to love it through repeated viewings or I will be bored to death the second time. I do love Paul Schneider though... A 3,5/5.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Review: My Bloody Valentine (2009)

(This review contains spoilers)

Oh My Bloody Valentine, you are a funny film. First you want me to believe that Kerr Smith is playing a teenager, even though he was already too old looking to play one in Dawson's Creek 10 years ago. And then you want me to believe he's the town sheriff. Really, Kerr Smith as the town sheriff. That also looked wrong. I actually like Kerr Smith, but the poor guy seemed so out of place. At least he's a capable actor. Credit where credit's due.

And then there's Jensen Ackles, who looked like he was having a mental breakdown when all the blood was splattered across his face, and looked out of it for the rest of the movie. It was amusing. But that and the pill popping made him an easy suspect.

I can't remember if there was any intentional humor in the movie though. Hmmm..

Jaime King is adorable and quite likeable leading lady. She fought back on several occassions. But there is one EPIC FAIL moment where she does not get a free pass: when Tom is choking Axel in the mine, she doesn't even try to help him! Guess it serves him right for cheating on her, but still.

What I liked about the movie was definitely the beginning. The opening with the newspapers was nicely done (even without watching it in 3D) and then it quickly moved to the aftermath of the hospital massacre and then to the mine party, which was the best scene in the movie IMHO. Even though Kerr, Jensen and Jaime look way too old to play teens and it became unintentionally funny to me.

It was downhill from there though. The movie kinda dragged on and the kills were repetitive. I couldn't tell the old people apart (sorry Tom Atkins), the nude scene ran too long for my liking and I wanted Sarah to slap Megan and shove her in front of the killer.

I also think they should have addressed the fact that Sarah, Axel & Irene left Tom behind after the mine party massacre. I know I would be hella pissed if my friends left me behind with a crazed killer. Yup.

The ending, I ask you: How exactly did Tom not get burned in the explosion?

I did like the scene where Axel told Sarah to stay behind him when they went to check on Megan, instead of telling her to stay where she is. Yes, finally a horror movie where they stick together. Thank you. A 3/5.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Brittany Murphy, you will be missed..

TMZ reports that Brittany Murphy passed away this morning. The quirky actress reportedly went into full cardiac arrest and could not be revived. She was 32.

I'm absolutely devastated by the news! I grew up watching Brittany! I've been following her career for the biggest part of my life. I saw Clueless at the age of 11 when it was released in theaters here in The Netherlands in 1996. Since then, Brittany has been wonderful and somewhat quirky in movies such as David & Lisa with Lukas Haas, both The Devil's Arithmetic and Drop Dead Gorgeous with Kirsten Dunst, Cherry Falls with Jay Mohr, Riding in Cars with Boys with Drew Barrymore, 8 Mile with Eminem, Uptown Girls with Dakota Fanning, and Robert Rodriguez's Sin City. She turned in scene stealing performances in Girl, Interrupted and Don't Say a Word.

The charismatic actress was a Young Hollywood favorite, often featured in and on the cover of magazines, as well as appearing on the red carpet, in the early 00's. After her star vehicles Uptown Girls and Little Black Book disappointed at the box office, Brittany had trouble getting her once promising career back on track. With the exception of her role in the star studded Sin City in 2005, the pretty actress found little success in the last couple of years. Things were looking up with 4 projects in various stages of production, with a role in Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables as a promising highlight.

Brittany Murphy had the talent and charm to be a big star. It's a shame her untimely death has prevented her from living up to her promise. Rest in peace, Brittany (1977-2009).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I should blog, but I don't have time! AARGH! I have been thinking about doing some Best Of the Decade lists, articles etc. of course mainly focused on Young Hollywood. But it will have to wait a little bit longer while I settle into my new job.