some people like movies

reviews and reactions to the wonderful world of film

Archive for February 2011

tv-update

with 8 comments

So Prison Break Season 2 has been intense, awesome, whatevs. I’m digging Agent Mahone’s character (William Fichtner) and liking Michael Scofield as per usual… but seriously, can’t they just escape for good? Do they have to come this close every time? So frustrating.  *Post edit. Really guys? Breaking out AGAIN? But in Panama? With essentially the same people? That’s definitely different than before guys… Man.

Another show I dig that is kind of a guilty pleasure of mine is V with Elizabeth Mitchell. I love me some sci-fi.  I know it’s got terrible ratings (it isn’t even on ABC.com anymore…) but I really hope that it can keep going to some conclusion, I’m really invested in this!  And I just want Anna to get what’s comin’ to her.  This show is actually pretty well crafted, I’ve been impressed with it so far (and isn’t quite so manipulative as Prison Break though it still is to some extent, no lies).  Morris Chestnut, Joel Gretsch, and Morena Baccarin are good.  And I love anything with any Lostie (Mitchell).

30 Rock hasn’t been as funny this season, but I do still catch a few laughs from Mr. Donaghy, Liz Lemon, Tracy, and Kenneth.  Kinda glad Matt Damon and Liz broke up – they had potential but that whole plane scene was terrible.  “Never Too Late For Now” was also kind of awesome. Just sayin’

Gotta love the Liz Lemon fanny pack…

p.s. 100th post!

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

with 4 comments

I love it when I don’t know too much about a movie.  Of course I’d heard of Dr. Strangelove (what movie-lover hasn’t) but I can honestly say that I was unfamiliar with the premise.  All I knew were images of Peter Sellers looking like a mad scientist who was undoubtably Strangelove, a crazy.  Maybe if I paid more attention to the title I’d gain some sort of intuition that a nuclear war might be involved.

Peter Sellers stars times 3 alongside George C. Scott in this Stanley Kubrick dark-comedy classic.  Psychotic General Ripper (Sterling Hayden) of the US Air Force issues a nuclear attack on Russian soil as part of “Plan R,” an emergency war plan meant to surpass the President’s authority in case of his death in an attack by the Soviets.  Meanwhile a team of politicians and President Merkin Muffley, alive and well, (Sellers 1) meet with General Buck Turgidson (Scott) in the war room (no fighting in there) to frantically bring it under control.  As part of “Plan R” already airborne B-52s, however, have no means of being reached without a three digit pass code to recall the bombers.  Oh yeah, and the Rooskies have a super-secret “doomsday machine” that will blow up the whole world if they’re attacked.

Captain Lionel Mandrake (Sellers 2), executive officer to General Ripper, learns through pop-music on the radio that we are not, in fact, at war and attempts to convince Ripper to recall the bombers.  When he doesn’t, Ripper locks Mandrake in his office.  They have good times chatting about fluoridation and purifying bodily fluids and commies and women and how politicians can’t be in charge of war.

Also in the War Room is Dr. Strangelove (Sellers 3), an ex-nazi weapons man in a wheel chair with hand problems – but it’s cool because no one in the room finds it abnormal that he attempts to strangle himself every few minutes.  He addresses the President as Mein Führer several times and seems to know a thing or two about doomsday-ness.

Now THIS is the right attitude to have about the end of the world.  Let’s welcome that apocalypse with yee-haws.  The main thought floating through my head while watching was “what CAN’T Kubrick do?”  He’s no man of consistency.  I’d never guess he’d throw a comedy into his repertoire though, and it’s kind of crazy how good it is.  The script combined with the spontaneity and perfect delivery of the actors is hilarious satire.

First of all, Peter Sellers rocks this show.  The Pink Panther can do it all and some. Three (could have been FOUR) roles for the man and he’s just as hilarious in each part.  Conversing with the President of Russia (“Now, I’m just as sorry as you are!”) or blasting off Coke machines (If you don’t get the President of the United States on that phone you know what’s going to happen to you? You’ll have to answer to the Coca-Cola Company.”) or that iconic last scene as Dr. Strangelove… Sellers is genius.

George C. Scott, however, hardly shies next to him.  He, too, is hilarious as General Buck Turgidson.  Absurd, and over the top, he embodies that part.  Watching him and Sellers (as the President that is) go at it is a bundle of laughs. Slim Pickens as ‘King’ Kong (would you get a handle of these names?) is also a highlight as the Texan Major in one of the B-52s, and though Sellers would have been good in this role, Pickens is awesome.  “Two pairs a nylon stockin’s. Two pair a prophylactics. Shoot, a fella could have a good time on this in Vegas.”

It’s a comedy in its own way, but it isn’t comedic.  It’s impeccably relevant with the Cold War fear.  It’s a dark subject, but it makes us laugh at that fear of all things.  It does what political satire does best.  It’s all about laughing at the people who don’t know that there is something funny about them.  It’s subtle, but outrageous.  I love that it can get us ROFLing and be a piece of art at the same time.  It’s got Kubrick’s touch in the camerawork and film-noir elements.

This accompanies 2001 as some of the best freaking amazingness that eve came out of Stanley Kubrick.  Though I love My Fair Lady I do wonder at which is better suited for the Best Picture title… One of the greatest WTF endings in the business, “Mein Führer, I can WALK!” and this classic will always be just that, a classic.  9/10


Written by laurenthejukebox17

February 20, 2011 at 7:38 pm

tv rules my world a little too much sometimes: an update

leave a comment »

So I’m in college, right? And when you’re in college that naturally means that you have no time to watch movies because you’re studying 24/7.  Right right right… This is half true.  I figure that I can grant myself 20 (or 40) minutes leisure time after a long day of school and work.  So I’ve been watching a lot of TV.  But really, after 4 40-minute episodes… I should have just watched a movie.  I justify it in that I don’t care as much for TV series so I concentrate less and do a little bit of homework.  With movies I want to soak it all in.

Lately it’s been Prison Break.  I cruised through Season 1 and am now about a third of the way through Season 2.  The only thing that can sufficiently describe this series is “crack cocaine.” It’s soooo addicting but it never leads ANYWHERE.  Just 40-minute segments each with a new twist and cliff-hanger to boot and you just HAVE to see what happens next… every time.  The first season was solid though.  There’s nothing cooler than those tattoos, man.  Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) is a good lead guy, Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) is also pretty good stuff.  So far this season (2) hasn’t been disappointing either, though it’s crazy how these shows manipulate you this way and that.

When I only have a 20-minute window though I’m working my way through The Office from Season 1.  Man, I forgot how hilarious this show is.  I hadn’t been too pleased with the latest efforts in Season 6, (I’ve yet to catch up with Season 7) but this is back to the basics.  What a stellar set of characters.  Dwight (Rainn Wilson), Michael (Steve Carell), Jim (John Krasinski).  And I completely forgot that Amy Adams was even in this!  Jim and Dwight together are so great: staplers in Jello, selling Dwight’s personal items in the vending machine, pencil health-hazards, “Um, it’s also Thursday… but Dwight thinks it’s Friday.  So keep that going.”  That “Basketball” episode in Season 1 is classic.  

Quote from the last ep I watched: “I enjoy having breakfast in bed. I like waking up to the smell of bacon, so sue me. And since I don’t have a butler, I have to do it myself. So, most nights before I go to bed, I will lay six strips of bacon out on my George Foreman grill. Then I go to sleep. When I wake up, I plug in the grill. I go back to sleep again. Then I wake up to the smell of crackling bacon. It is delicious, it’s good for me; it’s the perfect way to start the day.”

Written by laurenthejukebox17

February 14, 2011 at 11:55 pm

The Graduate (1967)

with 8 comments

And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson.

Dustin Hoffman stars as Benjamin Braddock, who recently completed his undergrad and is deciding what to do with his life.  The film begins at the Braddock’s home in California where his parents are throwing him a graduation party.  Embarrassed, frustrated, uncomfortable, he escapes and stares at his fish.  Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) – wife of Ben’s father’s law partner and family friend, she also doesn’t have a first name apparently – finds Ben hiding.  Asks him for a ride home… asks him in the house… offers him a drink… turns on music… starts taking off her clothes…. “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me.”  Ben’s a little taken aback by these advances of a 40 somethin’ year old woman and panics his way out of the house.  But with no direction, he doesn’t stay horrified for long.  He soon arranges their first rendez-vous at a hotel and their affair awkwardly begins.

He’s basically living the life.  Sun bathing and piña coladas in the pool by day… meeting the woman at night.  In one of their rare discussions, Mrs. Robinson forbids Ben to ever date her college-aged daughter, Elaine.  Ben’s reluctant to promise anything but doesn’t care much for the Robinson daughter so he agrees.  Too bad his parents do care.  They coerce him  into taking her out when she returns from Berkley.  With his affair between Mrs. R completely over, and despite his initial efforts to ruin their date, he starts to fall for the cute, full of life Elaine.  I’ll let you imagine where that might lead.

The great thing about The Graduate is that it takes its time.  One of the best scenes in the movie is a simple conversation between Mrs. Robinson and Ben.  The scene is quite long with many pauses, but it is one of the greatest crafted scenes I have ever seen.  Ben is flustered with their exclusively physical relationship, and starts asking questions to Mrs. Robinson.  We glimpse his eyes grow with wonder, we watch her eyes fill with pain.  There’s so much sadness and so much growth.  Needless to say the script is impeccable.  Witty, satirical, but deep.

The rest of the movie is developed in a similar fashion.  The pacing is greatly due to the music of good ol’ Paul and Art.  “The Sounds of Silence” is so perfect for the movie (as, of course, is “Mrs. Robinson”) and there are many scenes with nothing but.  It miraculously never drags.  Ben drives to see Elaine…. Ben slowly sinks in his pool, full of apprehension (great moment)… Ben lying in his pool… very little action.  I grew up listening to Simon and Garfunkel, but I never knew they were this cool.  The sounds of silence can speak so much louder than dialogue.

The Graduate is primarily a comedy – the script is evidence of that.

Ben: “Where’d you do it?”
Mrs. Robinson: “In his car.”
Ben: “What kind of car was it?”
Mrs. Robinson: “Come on now.”
Ben: “No, I really want to know.”
Mrs. Robinson: “A Ford.”
Ben: [laughs] “That’s great.  So Elaine Robinson got started in a Ford…”

It’s a funny movie, but it’s not just funny.  It’s a character study.  It makes you laugh, but I’d mostly say that it makes you smile at the realism.  The second half of the movie is greatly different from the first, its dynamic changes as Benjamin changes.  His and our attentions shift to Elaine, and his pursuit to win her over.  (Some great scenes there too… man I could rave about this whole movie scene by scene if I really wanted to).

Good acting? Check.  For me, it’s weird to think that Dustin Hoffman hasn’t always been the top dawg in his business.  I mean, this is the guy that did Rain Man, Kramer vs. Kramer, Tootsie, All the President’s Men… He’s been “the man” my whole life.  But nobody knew Dustin then.  Everyone knew Dustin after Benjamin Braddock.  Even without D. Hoffman, though, Anne Bancroft is sensational.  You hate her, you feel sorry for her.  The rest of the acting is solid as well, mainly Katherine Ross.

This film was one of the few to win the Best Director Oscar and not Best Picture.  Mike Nichols is the man.  It was nominated for basically everything else, though, including Cinematography (excellent – a constant visual treat) and Screenplay (also excellent).

And how ’bout that end?  The wedding crash to top all wedding crashes.  “It’s too late.” “Not for me!” (Granted, that IS a relationship I’d love to see in the future… how could YOU handle being with someone that had slept with your mother?)

I can’t rave enough.  With these acclaimed classics that I’d never seen, it’s difficult sometimes to figure out if you love it because you know you should love it, or if you actually love it.  I didn’t want to hand out a 10/10 just to conform.  But the more I thought about it, the fewer things I disliked.  This movie is excellent on all fronts, and truly should be considered a classic.  10/10


it’s the greatest Sunday of the year… for commercials!

with 2 comments

This was my favorite ad from the rather disappointing Superbowl yesterday.  I’m not a huge Steelers fan, but I’m from Minnesota.  I’m pretty sure that’s all I have to say to justify why I wanted the Packers to lose.

Written by laurenthejukebox17

February 7, 2011 at 9:38 am

Posted in random, sports

Tagged with , ,

quote-of-the-week #9

leave a comment »

If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you’d have invented Facebook.

-Mark Zuckerberg, The Social Network (2010)

Okay, so maybe this quote is a little overused in trailers etc.  But it’s still an awesome moment.

Written by laurenthejukebox17

February 2, 2011 at 11:01 pm

oscars to the 83rd.

leave a comment »

It’s that time again guys.  I don’t know why I don’t get so excited for these.  But I do.  So don’t judge.

Some People Predict 2011. Go.

PICTURE: The Social Network
So King’s Speech has been getting the buzz lately, it took the SAG awards.  But I’m still sticking with the Facebook movie.  It’ll be close – this the toughest competition of the bunch.  Well, this and Director.


DIRECTOR: David Fincher – The Social Network.
And oh why wasn’t Christopher Nolan nominated for this??? Didn’t they add ten slots basically because of The Dark Knight’s omission in 2009? Sheesh.  That man better get his someday.


ACTOR: Colin Firth – The King’s Speech
I’m not as Mr. Darcy sick as many of my female friends… but I still love this man.  This is a crazy-great category though – I’d pull for Jessie Eisenberg, James Franco, Firth, AND Jeff Bridges if I could.  I don’t know much about Biutiful, but Javier Bardem is always good too.


ACTRESS: Natalie Portman – Black Swan
Yeah, I don’t have anything to say about this category. Go Natalie.

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christian Bale – The Fighter
Love this guy, glad he’s getting some recognition.  I’m also glad Mark Ruffalo got a nom, I’ve liked him for a while.  I wish Andrew Garfield got somethin’ though!


SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Melissa Leo – The Fighter
I’m probably plugging for Amy Adams, though I’m stoked Hailee Steinfeld got a nod even if it should have been Best Actress.


ANIMATED FEATURE: Toy Story 3
I wish Tangled had been nominated.  But this deserves it no doubt.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: David Seidler – The King’s Speech
I’m still plugging for Chris Nolan with Inception…
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Aaron SorkinThe Social Network
I already obsess over Aaron Sorkin with his work on The West Wing.  That guy can write.
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Inception
This is a tough one.  It’s this or True Grit.
ART DIRECTION: Alice in Wonderland
Yeah, I just said Alice in Wonderland. Though the night before the Oscars I may change that to King’s Speech.
COSTUME DESIGN: The King’s Speech
They always go for the period pieces.
DOCUMENTARY (feature): Inside Job
DOCUMENTARY (short): No freaking idea.  Killing in the Name?
Because I’ve heard of it?  This also may change.  Because I just don’t know.
FILM EDITING: Social Network
I would have said Inception, sealed deal but oh wait it’s not nominated…
FOREIGN PICTURE: Incendies
This is another tough category because these guys never get famous until after they win.  Maybe I should be better and pay attention to foreign films all the way along but eh, not worth it.
MAKEUP: Barney’s Version
I guess? Anything but Wolfman right?
MUSICAL SCORE: The Social Network – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
I’m for Hans Zimmer with Inception. And I think it’d take second.
ORIGINAL SONG: “Coming Home” – Country Song
Because it’s a country song… But it should be Randy Newman for Toy Story 3
SHORT ANIMATED: Day and Night
I’m saying no contest?
SHORT LIVE ACTION: God of Love
Because I’ve heard of it?
SOUND EDITING: Inception
It. has. to. be.
SOUND MIXING: Inception
VISUAL EFFECTS: Inception

Looking forward to the 27th folks. See ya then.