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~December 24, 2009~
~*No Day But Today*~
Riding in Cars with Boys (2001)
And the award for most depressing film goes to...
I watched this movie last night, expecting to watch an empowering movie about a strong woman. What I got was a story about an overbearing, rigid mom who makes stupid decisions and winds up in bad situations, but her predicaments are her own fault, despite a pesky conscience and caring parents. She even tells her son (not once but several times, mind you) that he ruined her life- nice parenting! Penny Marshall could have done a better job with the way she portrayed Beverly D'Onofrio (played by Drew Barrymore).
What a disappointment! Not one person dies in this movie, which says a lot about how depressing this movie really is because I didn't think that a movie without a body count could be so depressing. This was neither uplifting nor empowering.
On the plus side, the acting was really good. Even Lorraine Bracco, who plays D'Onofrio's mother, was good in this film, and I usually can't stand her. But even the brilliant performances by the actors couldn't save this film.
Mars Attacks! (1996)
Even an all-star cast couldn't save this dud
Even for a sci-fi spoof, this film was way too far-fetched.
I can't blame the acting. There were so many respectable actors in this film (Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Danny DeVito, Natalie Portman, to name a few). But even their exceptional performances couldn't save this sci-fi drivel. I'm sure everyone who worked on this movie wishes they hadn't.
I'm sure that with tighter storytelling, the screenwriters could've done a better job with this story. The characters are neither memorable nor likable (though I will never be able to shake the image of that hideous human-dog creature played by Sarah Jessica Parker).
Not Tim Burton's best work. No stars.
Sex and the City (1998)
Great show!!! Women can relate...
The show takes place in the fabulous city of New York and centers around four friends and their misadventures and sexual mishaps.
The main character, Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker), is a magazine columnist and the quirky, intellectual one of the group (also the only one who is never seen nude throughout the entire show). Then there are her pals, played by Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, and Cynthia Nixon. Samantha (Cattrall) is the blonde bombshell who exudes confidence and enjoys sex, and has no fear in speaking on subjects that are considered extremely taboo. Charlotte (Davis) is the adorable, dainty, better-dead-than-unwed, *presumably* innocent brunette who loves romance and believes in love and soul mates. Miranda (Nixon) is the cynical, feminist redhead (and later a single mom).
The great thing about this show is women can relate because many of them have been in similar situations as Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda. Also, each woman can relate to at least one character from the show (and if not, a character may remind them of at least one of the characters). Me, I'm a Charlotte. I don't know too many Samanthas, but I have met my fair share of Carries and Mirandas.
I give this show a ten. Great programming for women. Kudos!
Little Women (1949)
I've only ever seen two versions of Little Women- this one, and the 1994 film starring Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon. Neither are completely accurate to the book, but I enjoyed this version more. June Allyson is brilliant as the tomboyish Jo, who longs for a career as a writer. Janet Leigh is sweet as the more conservative Meg.
I also loved violet-eyed Elizabeth Taylor as Amy, and the very petite Margaret O'Brien as shy, fragile Beth. However, I must note that there is an error in the girls' ages. Amy appears older than Beth, and in the novel by Louisa May Alcott, Amy is actually supposed to be the youngest daughter. None of the girls tend to age over the four years in which this story takes place, least of all Amy and Beth (yet for the character Beth, it somehow works because it's almost as though her shyness as well as her health has stunted her growth).
Overall, a great film. I recommend it to those who love the older film classics.
The Bad Seed (1956)
Chilly and psychologically disturbing... I love it! (possible spoilers)
For me, the scariest movies are psychological thrillers that can actually happen in real life. I saw this movie the whole way through last night and got a case of the chills.
The story centers on a mother and a daughter's dysfunctional relationship. After an incident involving a little boy's drowning occurs at the Fern School, Mrs. Penmark becomes suspicious and wonders if her seemingly innocent daughter, Rhoda, may have played a part in the death of Claude Daigle (especially since the headmistress, Mrs. Fern, informed Mrs. Penmark that Rhoda was the last person to see Claude just before he died). There are many clues throughout the film that highlight Rhoda's dark secret- mainly objects given to her after their original owners die.
Complete with a surprise ending, a brilliant plot and exceptional actors (Nancy Kelly and Patty McCormack are excellent!), The Bad Seed is beautifully played out. This is how horror movies should be made.
Happy Feet (2006)
My faith in CGI animated films has been restored!
I have to admit I didn't know what to expect before I saw this film. This year, the only other CGI-animated film I enjoyed was Flushed Away (which is partly because I grew up watching the Wallace and Gromit series and I love Chicken Run, but also because it was genuinely entertaining). As the older sister of a seven-year-old girl and a fan of CGI-animated films since Toy Story came out, I have seen my fair share of CGI-animated films... and this was not the year for CGI-animated movies until Happy Feet came out.
Sure, Flushed Away was enjoyable and fun to watch, but what Happy Feet has that no other CGI-animated film released this year has is the classic formula for an enjoyable family film. The makers of Happy Feet even added the formula for an enjoyable animated musical, something long missing in animated films.
Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Brittany Murphy, Robin Williams, and Elijah Wood star in this animated gem, and Jackman, Kidman, Murphy, and Williams provide their own beautiful singing voices. The casting couldn't be more perfect, and the characters couldn't be more lovable. Who doesn't find an adelie penguin (voiced by Williams), belting at the top of his lungs, "Lo hice myyyyyyyyyy wayyyyyyy!" adorable and entertaining? Nine out of ten- go out and see it today. You won't be disappointed.
P.S., Why are people saying my comment is not useful? I think I did a pretty good job explaining why this movie is worth watching.
The best musical I've seen in ages
"How do you document real life when real life's getting more like fiction each day?" asks Mark Cohen (played by Anthony Rapp), a young aspiring filmmaker and the film's narrator. It's a fair question to ask, even today- in this day and age it seems as though anything will pass for entertainment, from God-awful reality shows to publicity stunts by young, attention-seeking starlets just barely out of high school.
Then came the film version of RENT.
As a RENThead myself, I was a little concerned about how this movie would be brought about. After all, I first heard about it back in 2002, when Justin Timberlake announced in an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine that he was "in talks" to play Roger (played by Adam Pascal in the original Broadway production) in the film. Thankfully, casting directors thought better of it and instead brought back six of the eight original Broadway cast members (Daphne Rubin-Vega and Fredi Walker were too old to recreate their original roles, and Rubin-Vega was pregnant at the time). Newcomers Rosario Dawson and Tracie Thoms did a beautiful job in this film. Dawson's acting is top-notch, and Thoms does a wonderful job displaying her incredible vocal range during her solo in "Seasons of Love".
I believe Chris Columbus preserved the sentimental message of Jonathan Larson's story quite well. RENTheads and Broadway purists alike condemned him for changing around a couple of things and even cutting a few numbers. I'll admit that even I was a bit peeved that "Halloween" and the second half of "Goodbye Love" were cut from the film (though they do appear on the DVD as deleted scenes), but I understand that a lot of the other songs from the musical were more suited for the stage production than the movie, and they also would have been superfluous, even cutting some of the heartbeat of the film. Let's just be thankful it wasn't Baz Luhrmann directing this film- look what he did to Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet.
The quality of the music is also vastly improved in this film. Compare the original motion picture soundtrack to the original Broadway cast recording. In the original Broadway recording, you can barely even hear the bass line, and several of the cast members are struggling to sing the songs, even doing potential damage to their voices by screaming. The original cast members' voices are improved in the film, and Dawson and Thoms contribute to the film with their musical talents.
The story is based on Puccini's La Boheme and centers around Mark Cohen, his flirtatious ex-girlfriend, notorious, attention-seeking protester and musical performer Maureen Johnson (Idina Menzel), her lesbian lover, lawyer Joanne Jefferson (Thoms), HIV-positive dancer Mimi Marquez (Dawson), her lover and Mark's current roommate, HIV-positive guitarist/songwriter Roger Davis (Pascal), Mimi's friend, HIV-positive cross-dressing drummer Angel Dumott Schunard (Wilson Jermaine Heredia), his lover and Mark's ex-roommate, HIV-positive philosopher Tom Collins (Jesse L. Martin), and Mimi's ex-lover and Roger and Mark's friend-turned-landlord Benjamin "Benny" Coffin III (Taye Diggs). The film takes a look at a year in the life of the eight friends as they struggle through hardships such as heartbreak, drug addiction, financial troubles, disease and loss.
One of the greatest musicals ever. Ten out of ten!