Mini Movie Review: Identity Thief

The preview for this is so hilarious! It has a 25% positive review rate on Rotten Tomatoes though, which is really low. But I decided to see it anyway because I love Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy.

The verdict? It was funny. A little long. Most of the funny parts were in the preview. But by the end of the movie you really care about the characters and their growth. One of my friends thought it was stupid and way too long and not funny enough. My other friend and I agreed it was enjoyable, perhaps because we went in with the low standards set by Rotten Tomatoes. Overall it’s a rental, and I knew that going into it if I’m being honest!

Here are the best parts of the movie condensed into two and a half minute:

Movie Review: Warm Bodies

My friend Alison and I were discussing an article that showed how the popularity of vampire movies and zombie movies correlated with whether Democrats or Republicans were in office, respectively. You can read it here, but to summarize: vampire movies are popular when Democrats are in office as Republicans fear vampires because they are sexually deviant, foreigners, and parasitic (just like Democrats?). Zombie movies are popular when Republicans are in office as Democrats fear zombies because they are mindless consumers, seek to remove those who do not conform, and do not think for themselves (just like Republicans?). The article is written humorously, but it makes sense.

What we were discussing: there’s a Democrat in office now, and Twilight is basically the most popular thing ever. So what’s up with that? This article is talking about what scares us, and Twilight isn’t scary (at least it’s not supposed to be). Twilight is supposed to be sexy. It takes all the things Republicans fear about vampires and puts a sexy spin on them.  We joked that maybe more young people would vote Republican if they made a sexy zombie movie. “But they could never do that, ” we said. “Zombies are gross.”

Until one day, Alison sent me this trailer:

Oh. My. GOSH. They did it??? We immediately made plans to see it. And see it we did. The verdict? Alison liked it. The critics liked it. I did not. I’m not sure why.

Maybe my expectations were too high? The previews looked funny and another friend of mine said it was better than Twilight. I actually disagreed. It bothered me that the zombies could talk a little, and that the seemed to function relatively normally, just real slow. The main zombie has thoughts, feelings, and desires. He makes decisions and long-term plans. He can drive a car! This is just not very zombie-like. Every vampire movie puts a different spin on vampires, but they always have that scene where it’s like “oh garlic doesn’t hurt us, we made that up so people would think they were safe” or “I can walk in the light because blah blah blah”. This movie didn’t have that though, it was just like SURPRISE zombies are just like you basically!

Additionally, the leading lady was even stupider than Bella, she just kept trying to escape and literally every time the zombies would chase her and the main zombie would save her and bring her back to his “house”. This happened like three or four times before one of her escape attempts actually moved the plot forward. And speaking of the plot/pacing… this movie moved as slow as the zombies. I mean, it had to I guess because you have to watch these slow creatures move around. It’s like a movie about snails, obviously they’re going to move slowly. But it just seemed to drag the plot out unnecessarily.

Anyway, everyone else seemed to like this movie, so maybe don’t listen to me. In fact, don’t. Go see it and let me know what you think!

Movie Review: Les Misérables

This post is wayyyyyyy overdue! I saw Les Misérables with my parents on Christmas day, then with some friends from church on New Year’s day. Then again on Sunday with some other friends from church. And I’m ready to see it again! If only movies weren’t so expensive…

Anyway, I read the novel by Victor Hugo during my senior year of high school. And I loved it. I mean I ate that thing up. After reading it I saw a student production of the musical and rented the 1998 film with Liam Neeson. I loved both. Eventually I saw a professional production of the musical and loved that even more. I think I’ve seen the musical two or three times at this point, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve listened to the soundtrack. This is just to set the stage for you: I LOVE all things Les Misérables.

So how did this film version of the stage musical live up? Obviously it was awesome, because I’ve seen it three times. There have been lots of complaints about the film from fans (mostly about Russell Crowe’s singing and Tom Hooper’s not-so-steady camera work), but I don’t care. I thought this movie was as perfect as you could get.

Hugh Jackman is amazing. I saw him on Broadway in a musical called “The Boy from Oz” so I knew he could sing, and he’s always been one of my favorite actors. He did a great job portraying both the hardened and the redeemed Valjean. Some people said his vocals were too nasally but it didn’t bother me. Maybe because I already knew how his singing voice sounds, so it wasn’t surprising. The only thing I didn’t like about his performance was his “old man grunt” at the very end. He kept saying “oh!” in this sad little old man voice, and I was annoyed. Other than that, he was perfect.

Russell Crowe was fine – he was a great Javert to me although I do agree his vocals were underwhelming in comparison to the rest of the cast. His voice just doesn’t seem to project as much, and he does these weird little dips sometimes. But I don’t need Javert to be the bestest singer ever, and his acting more than made up for his singing.

Anne Hathaway obviously blew it away as Fantine. She was NOT afraid to be ugly while she sang/cried, and I mean more than just that haircut. Her facial expressions were brutal. She sang beautifully and did her big song all in one shot. Impressive. (Note: I didn’t link to a song here because it’s in the trailer below).

Samantha Barks has played Eponine before, so maybe she had an unfair advantage over the rest of the cast, but she nailed it. Her voice was perfect, and she adapted herself well to the screen. Sometimes stage actors go too big in movies, you know? But she got it right. I am pretty sure we’ll be seeing her in more movies. Also I think we should all take a moment to be thankful that Taylor Swift did not get this role.

Amanda Seyfried as Cosette was a little disappointing for me, but I’m okay with it. My friends complained that her voice was quiet, breathy, and too “trilly”. And those things are true, but aren’t those things also how you’d expect Cosette to be? Eddie Redmayne as Marius was actually my biggest problem with the movie. He had what I call a “kermit-y” tone, where he just sings way too far in the back of his throat sometimes. He also says “sorry” a lot (see clip) and does this weird thing where he shakes his chin and sometimes his entire head when he sings. Anyway, here is a clip of them singing a love song. Aaron Tveit was Enjorales and he killed it. I can’t find a clip, which is a shame. His acting and singing were both killer and I am sad he wasn’t a bigger part in the movie.

I have more thoughts about this movie obviously but this is already a long post, so I will leave you with the trailer and my recommendation to go see is as soon as you can!

Haircut!

I sat here for about five minutes trying to come up with a more interesting title for this post, but at least it’s descriptive. On Friday I got a haircut. In 2007 I cut my hair into a pixie cut, and at some point while I was teaching (maybe in 2009?) I decided to grow it out really really long. I wanted Zooey Deschanel/Jenny Lewis hair. Super long, wavy, and heavy bangs. Except oops I have thin hair and it doesn’t look like that when it’s super long. Oh well. After many months of hearing people say “you’re hair is so LONG” but never “you’re hair looks so great” I decided to do what’s best for my hair and cut off the sraggly ends. Thanks to my friend Angela at her new Lakota Room Salon in the Heights!