Sunday, November 30, 2014

What's Next On My List? Noel

I told you that I will write a review of Paul Walker movies every year on his birthday. The first of the kind was Eight Below (click here to read!), and I plan to continue that list, but I wanted to make one exception. Paul Walker had one Christmas themed movie, and I thought I would talk about it on the anniversary of his death, which coincides with the last day of this month. So I wanted to pay homage to him by starting the holiday reviews with this movie and to remember him at the same time.

It is Christmas Eve, and the tale of five New Yorkers cross path on this one night when everyone just needs a little break from their every days. First we have Rose, who spends her Christmas alone, as her husband has moved on and her mom is sick in the hospital. She crosses path with Nina, who fights with her jealous fiancee Mike.
Nina is upset as she fears that he doesn't trust her, and at the same time she finds out that she is pregnant. She goes back to her family and in the meanwhile gets to know Rose. Mike, on the other hand, is followed by a strange man who seems to know him. The latter is Artie. Artie believes that the ghost of his deceased wife lives in Mike and he seeks forgiveness for the mistakes he made during his marriage. Artie, unfortunately gets a heart-attack and Mike takes him to the hospital where they encounter Jules. Jules has had a horrible childhood and once he spent Christmas in the hospital and there was a party and the nurses dressed up and it was the best time he ever knew. Now, his life is still in a bad place and he thought that being at a party in the hospital would light up his Christmas. Although the night doesn't seem to end, morning does come around and they all got something they were looking for: bit of hope, some closure or a little miracle.

This is not the happiest Christmas movie you see, I can tell you that in advance. However, it is one of the sweetest ones. I am in a period in my life when I feel a bit lost. And Christmas is a magical time that can sometimes either amplify those feelings, or truly save you from your own nightmarish thoughts. I don't want to go into what it represents for me, especially because it changes from year to year. And getting back, what makes this movie exceptional is that I find these stories really original. It is not the same cliches over and over. In the end you have people who simply want to find a way to get over it, and others who just want to enjoy it and make the best of it. That's the interesting part, Jules is the only one who wants to enjoy every second of it, while it is the others who simply wish to wake up from the nightmare that their everyday life has turned into.
But what really helped to overcome their demons was the fact that their paths crossed. Although it is a Christmas story, and that there is a bit of miracle in it, the movie's moral lesson is not that the holidays solve everything and let the magic in! No, it simply reminds them of the most important things in life and that there is still time to change what doesn't work. It is never too late. From that point of view, I would say that the moral is quite similar to Dicken's A Christmas Carol. Each of them learns a bit from the other and it is great to see that the most little of gestures can make the biggest changes in one's life. And to me personally, that is what the holidays are really all about!

Watch this movie? You should, but make sure you have in stock some funny holiday special to watch afterwards, as it is a bit heavy.

Paul Walker, rest in peace! Love, CsorEsz.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Mike - Paul Walker
Artie - Alan Arkin
Jules - Marcus Thomas
Charlie Boyd - Robin Williams

Friday, November 21, 2014

RIP Mike Nichols

A very sad news has reached me after the Mockingjay premiere. Director/producer Mike Nichols has passed away at the age of 83 on 19th November 2014. He was responsible for some of my favorites, I even talked about most of them on my blog already. So, because of that I wanted to take a second and remember him properly. Thank you for all your work, and rest in peace!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

FRESH FROM THE THEATRE: Mockingjay (Part 1)

A whole year has passed, in which I have seen the first movie two more, and the second movie seven more times. Don't judge me! I am writing this intro part before having seen the movie, so I am not influenced. I'll be honest, was a tiny bit less excited about this movie. Contrary to everyone's belief, I am not against the fact that they divided the book into two movies. First reason is that this story is so thick that if they skip just one thing, they would have to cut out whole characters from the stories. They nicely introduced everything in the second movie that they missed out on in the first one, to make sure the ending hits a punch. The second reason is that I trust this director. In an interview after the second movie he said that whenever they got stuck, they just opened the book because after all their intent was to give us the book. The third and final reason is simply that the book had actual places where cliffhangers could be grabbed to cut the story into two. I am actually curious to see which out of all the possibilities they went with! However, because I am insanely curious, I am dying because I have to wait one more year for the last one! And so I became a bit detached. But three weeks before the premiere I started to go insane, and here we are:

(Spoiler free review!)

Katniss is currently in District 13 with her mom and sister Prim. President Alma Coin, leader of the district asks her to resume her role as the image of the revolution as many districts have decided to rebel and they need her alive to keep fighting. She does so, but with the condition of getting the other victors, Peeta, Johanna and Annie Cresta back safely. As the rebellion goes on, Katniss has a hard time fitting in with the new rules imposed onto her. And after an attack from the capital it seems that she just can't take it anymore.

No, I will not tell you where the movie ends. I will, however tell you that if you thought Harry Potter 7 part 1 sucked, and that there were already more Twilight movies than we actually need, not to mention the trilogy of The Hobbit, and asked yourself, do we really need this? Then the answer is yes. You will not be disappointed!
So many things happen in this book and all the changes were clever and thought through and you just can't help but sit there with your mouth open as there is so much to take in! And the best part of the film is that they dropped boring characters, and concentrated on the important ones. This makes the story even more compelling as you don't have filler actions and scenes. I knew that there was enough material in this book for two movies and I wasn't wrong. And the changes made work perfectly in the universe that the movies have created. Let me explain: the cast and crew opened the books, watched their movies and most important of all, they care about the fans they have.

Here a couple of spoilers regarding the major changes, skip to the next paragraph if you want to be surprised!

Of course Effie disappears in the book, while here she serves as Plutarch's assistant in a way. Now, that assistant character is a great example of fillers that the movie doesn't need. While Effie is a character that the fans have grown fond of and she is not just hanging there in the air, as if she didn't belong, but she is nicely put into the frame of the movie. Enobaria also disappears, as she is not among the victors who are rescued. But really, she didn't have a role in the last book either way. Also, less emphasis was put on Katniss and Gale, which I actually liked because all of my friends who have not read the books keep complaining that Katniss doesn't have any feelings at all for Peeta and here the movie makes sure we get the picture that it is the baker boy who won her heart.

Many people didn't like the last book. Well, guess what? This was better than the book. It simply works. It is a perfect continuation of the second movie, and it ties in the first and sets up everything we need for the last one. It cleverly added information that we only hear from Katniss in the book and it cut the story into two at the best possible moment. I 100% trust this director and I'm glad I do. There are movies that you only watch once in your life. And there are movies that you only watch once in the theater. This is not one of those movies.

Until the next item on my list!

PS: This movie might just save 2014 for me!
_ _ _ _ _ _ 

Katniss Everdeen - Jennifer Lawrence
Gale Hawthorne - Liam Hemsworth
Peeta Mellark - Josh Hutcherson
Finnick Odair - Sam Claflin
Primrose Everdeen Willow Shields
Effie Trinket - Elizabeth Banks
Haymitch Abernathy - Woody Harrelson
Caesar Flickerman - Stanley Tucci
Plutarch Heavesbee - Phyllip Seymour Hoffman
Beetee Jeffrey Wright
President Coin - Julianne Moore
President Snow - Donald Sutherland

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What The F*ck Is This Sh*t? DC Casting

I don't take time to address casting choices, simply because I know I can't change it and nobody really cares about my opinion. I have also experienced that the casting directors usually know what they are doing, so I shouldn't complain. Still, I do have those three to four favorite characters and it simply drives me wild when you have a comic character who has been drawn one hundred billion times and you have every reason in the world to seek an actor who looks like that hero does. And for some reason they don't.

So my favorite hero is Barry Allen, The Flash. You might have read my list of Top 5 Favorite DC Characters, and so you'll know that he is special to me. (If you haven't, and you would like to, click on the title above!)

A tall, blonde young guy who's got wide shoulders and is a bit buff due to the work out he gets while running.

He does not look like Ezra Miller. As a matter of fact, he doesn't even look like Grant Gustin, the guy who plays him in the show. And they got the character right, he is a witty funny guy who never takes himself too seriously - despite the horrible stuff he too had to live through. My biggest problem in The Flash (2014) is that they actually managed to cast an actor who looks EXACTLY like Barry Allen does, except he plays a cop who so far did nothing beside look pretty in the background.

Also, somebody tell me why can't they dye his hair blonde? How hard is it? Seriously?

I'm sure Miller is gonna do fine, I'm sure that the JLA movie is gonna... OK, let's go with OK, because I just have no idea what is DC doing right now, to be honest. I am rooting for the people behind the TV series, because one is better than the other and you can see that they actually opened the comic books; they care for their characters; and most importantly they care for their fans! They know that their fans keep them alive and they shouldn't enrage them. But hopefully the TV versions will put on a JLA sooner and beat the ass of the movie versions, because simply put: I don't care anymore. I will try to get around the TV show, because I liked what I've seen so far - which is not a lot - but I doubt that it will become a favorite for me.

You keep getting my favorite characters wrong and I just can't watch it anymore. You lost me DC. Trying to put out 10 movies in 6 years... They are NOT gonna be quality films. They are NEVER gonna match the empire that Marvel built up with planning and proper casting. DC does not care about the fans and they don't care about portraying the 300 sides each character has, just one: The darkest and the most depressing one. I hate Nolan's Batman, I hated the Man Of Steel for being such a dark take on the tale, and I've seen the poster for Wonder Woman... nothing uplifting happening there, I can tell you in advance! My only hope is that with Jason Momoa they will finally let people know that Aquaman is indeed cool! I also hate that he became the butt of every joke. 71% of the Earth's surface is covered by water and one person controls all of it! I think he is a pretty cool character!

I don't care about Marvel either, in case you are wondering.

I want my Barry Allen, so I'll stick to the comics and cartoons. At least they haven't screwed that up... yet.

UPDATE: Guess what? I had to write down this stupid commentary and immediately they announced a casting decision that  literally made me pee my pants. My beloved Margot Robbie (from Pan Am - click here to read review!) will be playing my sister's favorite Harley Quinn in the only DC movie that I care about in the upcoming movie seasons: Suicide Squad.

Friday, November 7, 2014

What's Next On My List? Empire Record

I have previously talked about this movie on my list of my Top 10 Best Movies From The 90's. And since Renée Zellweger made the news (again) I remembered how different she was when she was young (yes, I'm just gonna pretend she is getting old!). And she wasn't the only one! The whole cast grew up since this movie was made! For me it is a classic and it's gonna be twenty next year, so therefore I wanted to talk about it a little bit!

We follow the adventures of the staff of Empire Records for a whole day. All young kids with a 30 some-year-old boss. The record store is going to close down, as it is more expensive to keep it open, not to mention that one of the staff members had gambled away most of their savings the night before... In order to keep the shop open, they throw a big fundraiser concert at the end of the day, to which surprisingly a lot of people show up - as this place is a safe haven for a lot of people, not just its employees - and they do manage to save the store.

What is great about the movie? Easy. There are really 10 characters and although the movie shows us no more than 1 full day in their lives, you still feel like you know these people: you are a part of the team; you  have their same fears and share their joys; and that you too have to save the record store! And it is such a great feeling when they do save it! And that's the other thing, 90 minutes are literally nothing! Just think about how much stuff you can cram into 90 minutes! And you have movies that do only show you an hour of one's life and you have those that cover periods longer than a year. Here, it is no more than a day and the night that precedes its events.
Inside the store you get a variety of youngsters. Some of them are seeking something more from life. Others, on the other hand, are perfectly happy with the life they have. This is a continuous contrast: What makes one really happy? Seeking out happiness or living for the moment? Who is right? And at the end of the day, there is no right answer. What you have to do is what makes you happy and it is that simple. And the record store is a safe place for all of them. I love the music, the plot, the stupid saturated colors of the 90's that light up the movie. It's all one big party.
My favorite character is Debra. I want to talk about her a bit more in detail. She has tried to commit suicide and she goes to work, shaves her head and asks the others to have a funeral in her honor. She believes that there is no point to life, that it doesn't matter what you do, it won't get any better. During that one day she realizes: "So I guess nobody has it really all together". And she concludes that it could be a phase, or not, but no matter how dumb the blonde girl is, and how silly the guys can get: They are her friends. They are there for her. And if she has to rock out the rest of her life, she is gonna do it in style!

This is such a great movie, and I think it is very underrated, despite the all star cast that these actors turned out to be! Simple, but touching stories, that are bound to get to any youngster who is questioning what they should be doing in life - or whether or not what they doing is the right thing. It could be, maybe it isn't, but the key is surrounding yourself with the right people and then everything will be alright! Do watch this movie!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Joe Reaves - Anthony LaPaglia
Rex Manning - Maxwell Caulfield
Jane - Debi Mazar
Lucas - Rory Cochrane
Debra - Robin Tunney
Mark - Ethan Embry
Corey Mason - Liv Tyler