Greetings from Tim Buckley (2013)

So, I’m a bit of a fan of Jeff Buckley. Okay, I fucking love Jeff Buckley. So when I heard they were making a biopic about him a while back I was horrified. It just seemed ridiculous. How anyone could capture Jeff Buckley was beyond me.

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But somehow, they totally pulled it off in Greetings from Tim Buckley. They did a smart thing – focusing on one event in Jeff’s life to give us an idea of his life. What the film really does is explore’s the relationship between Jeff and his father Tim Buckley, a folk singer from the 60s. So all we see is Jeff on the brink of deciding to start doing his own stuff. He’s performing at a tribute for his estranged father who has died.

If they had opted for the birth-to-death kind of biopic, I think the movie would have been terrible. Just painful and preachy and melodramatic.

I’m not sure it’s a movie for everyone. In fact, I’d venture to say you might have to be a fan of Jeff Buckley to really appreciate it. There are some great little bits in the movie where you can see Jeff creating songs he’s known for, a big scene with “Grace“. Whether fictionalized or true or something in between, it’s like being a fly on the wall as you see the birth of one of the most beautiful songs.

In a way, it’s kind of an origin story.

I had serious doubts about Penn Badgley portraying Jeff but the fact is, he killed it. He performed the songs you see him singing and while it’s not a perfect imitation, it’s eerie. And makes me want Penn Badgley to make music at some point.

If you’re a fan of Jeff Buckley or Penn Badgley or music or you like quiet little indie flicks, boom, do it.

***** stars (I know, right? That doesn’t happen often.)

Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

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Why do I watch these movies? Oh that’s right, I love over-the-top gratuitous violence in movies. There was so much neck-breaking in Olympus has Fallen that I might have pulled a muscle!

The plot is typical and predictable (there should be a portmanteau for that – predictypical? Typictable? I’ll work on it) and that’s what makes it any good. Sometimes, I just want to see someone kicking ass and saving the day, no matter how many cheesy lines come with that. I especially liked Gerard Butler talking to the head of the terrorist group:

“Let’s play a game of ‘fuck off.’ You go first.” OH-HOH! He’s gonna need to get himself to the nearest burn unit – luckily the whole White House is on fire so it’s extremely accessible. Get that man some neosporin, some gauze, and an ibuprofen or it’s gonna get infeeeected!

(That’s how these jokes go, right? I’m doing it right?)

Well, this movie certainly doesn’t need an essay worth of a review. If you’re into that patriotic stuff, you might (legitimately) enjoy it. If you want to see gun-violence, some stabbing, some neck-breaking, and explosions, you might enjoy it. If you’re trying to see the next Oscar winner…well, I don’t know what to tell you.

** stars (that might be one too many but hey, I watched intensely for two hours. And I always believe Gerard Butler as a man who kills lots of people. Also, Morgan Freeman got to play President.)

(The First) Trailer Party!

Welcome to the very first Trailer Party. A party in which I post some trailers for movies I’m pretty jazzed about. That’s all – easy, peasy, right?


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

This looks way better than The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I’m going to be real, if Lee Pace could be in every scene, I’d be a happy camper. That man is…unreal. Oh, and I love dragons. And even Evangeline Lily looks pretty kickass.


Filth

What. In. The. Fuck. I don’t know whether I’m extremely excited for tremendously terrified to see James McAvoy like this. I vaguely remember sort of reading Irvine Welsh’s book (which this movie is based on) when I was much, much, much too young to be reading such…well, filth.

I’ll be at this opening day.


The East

I kind of dig Brit Marling. She started writing her own movies simply because she wanted to play certain characters in them, so she made it happen. Good for her. And she’s making cool, thought-provoking films. Plus, Alexander Skarsgard. Sorry guys, I’m boy-crazy.


Closed Circuit

Hm? What’s that? An English thriller/drama you say? Okay, I’m in. Honestly, it might be no good but I can’t not. Look at all those nice neutral colors and pleasant accents. Nice.


Runner, Runner

Uh…y’know, I’m at a loss with this one. Might end up being a surprise or it will be a flop as most will definitely predict.

Now You See Me (2013)

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I may or may not have treated myself to a free second movie after seeing Star Trek last night. And it was worth it. The last time I did that I nearly fell asleep watching Pirates of the Caribbean: Are We Still Doing This? This experience was much better.

I’m going to get to the point: Now You See Me is not a quality or critically-acclaimed movie. And I don’t know why anyone would expect it to be. It’s a movie about magic and heists. Dave Franco is in it (who is totally a babe, but, y’know, Dave Franco.)

It’s fast-paced, funny (I’ll watch Woody Harrelson in anything), and at times, kind of clever. If you’re going into this movie to pick everything apart and “figure it out”, don’t bother. I don’t think that’s the point. It’s a pure entertainment movie. And I was entertained. I laughed out loud at a blockbuster movie. That rarely happens for me. I think the last time that happened to me was during Cabin in the Woods.

I was interested the whole way through. I wanted to know the reasons behind the magic tricks, I love movies that involve heists, and the twist of the movie hinged on something they repeat over and over throughout the movie. Clever, fuckers.

So. Ultimately? Enjoyable. I was thoroughly entertained and glad I did some sneaking to see it. It was thoroughly implausible and it wasn’t especially deep. But sometimes, I just want to watch a movie to be entertained and not spend two hours watching it analyzing and two hours after it reflecting.

And you guys, Morgan Freeman is in it. Plus, Jesse Eisenberg playing a smarmy asshole with some questionable hair/facial scruff.

**** stars

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

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I realized about halfway through Star Trek Into Darkness that it’s pretty much every geek’s dream movie – and not just because it’s Star Trek. You’ve got…

Benedict Cumberbatch – Sherlock Holmes and he’s in The Hobbit
Zachary Quinto Sylar from Heroes. I know it got weird during Season 2 but we can thank the writer’s strike for that. He was an awesome villain.
Zoe Saldana – Neytiri in Avatar. Admittedly, not my favorite movie or anything but it was mainstream geeky.
Noel Clarke – I had a small freakout when Mickey from Doctor Who popped up. Whaaaaat?
Simon Pegg – Simon Pegg
Peter Wellers – he’s in a lot of things but…Robocop.
Deep Roy – he’s been in a lot of sci-fi-y stuff. For me, I’m all about him in The NeverEnding Story, Return to Oz, and The Dark Crystal. He was also in the old Doctor Who series.

Geek party, I tell ya.

I enjoyed it. It wasn’t sublime or anything, but it was enjoyable. Benedict Cumberbatch killed it (just like I knew he would). That man must have put on some muscle because he looked…ah,tough, and I did not hate it. Him kicking a whole lot of ass is a.) something I never thought I’d see and b.) far more enthralling than I ever could have imagined.

startrek18f-10-webI also quite enjoyed his swoopy emo hair. I just kept thinking “Trent Reznor” in my head. Now he was Sublime.

I’ve come to wonder if J.J. Abrams is in on the joke with all the lens flare. He has to know that that’s all anyone ever says about Star Trek/everything he makes, right? At this point, I think he has to just be doing it to get everyone riled up. I mean, the sheer level of lens flare makes me wonder why everyone isn’t walking around with sunglasses on at every moment.

Ultimately, it was what everyone thinks it would be. Some sci-fi goodness, a few quips between Kirk and Spock, a dash of drama, a fair amount of action, and things that Star Trek fans (I’m talking the TV show) will appreciate. It’s a popcorn movie and that’s okay.

And for geeks like me…well, feast your eyes.

**** stars

 

Bitch Hug (2012)

I am a sucker for coming-of-age stories. Something about teenagers/young adults finding themselves and seeming very real…it’s the kind of thing I’ve related to since I was about 8 and saw Now and Then. I think it’s a tricky genre to really do well. So many writers and directors have these great ideas but try so hard to make their characters cool, creating these fads and slang that just aren’t real.

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Bitch Hug did a pretty good job with the coming-of-age movie. The premise is that Kristin (probably 18), who is pretty cynical and can’t wait to get out of her small Swedish town gets the chance to go to New York. While there, she’ll be writing about her new life for her hometown’s paper.

People think she’s going to fail and that she’ll be back within a month. Unfortunately, she misses her flight to New York. In order to prove everyone wrong, she hides out in the country with Andrea. And surprise! They become friends!

I’m going to regret saying this, but Kristin verges on being an almost Holden Caulfield-esque character. She sometimes goes a little far with her realism and brings it into a cynical and mean territory. And that I could relate to. She’s got some good angsty lines that I think everyone has thought, like: “I don’t know what I want, but I know what I don’t want.”

There’s some nice cinematography, the acting was good (somehow, it’s kind of hard to tell in a foreign language how good the acting really is), and the soundtrack was killer. Perfect? No. Enjoyable flick? Yep.

And if you want to know what a bitch hug is, you might just have to watch the movie.

*** stars

Brideshead Revisited (2008)

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I was skimming through Stoker today because I really wanted to rewatch the “Summer Wine” scene – talk about a prime use of music and volume. Shivers, you guys. Shivers – and I thought to myself “Matthew Goode, you are great looking.” Which lead me to downloading a bunch of movies he’s in.

I started with Brideshead Revisited (which also stars Ben Whishaw and Hayley Atwell) and spent a long evening (2 hours and 10 minutes) with some fancy prose and subtle metaphors. And Matthew Goode’s beautiful face.

As someone who has never read the book nor seen the critically acclaimed miniseries from the 80s, I got what seems to be the least favored of all its incarnations. Which is not to say it isn’t good – it is. But everyone else raves about the other two. Oh, well.

It’s absolutely beautiful. The costumes are immaculate and scenery is…well, you’d have to be a real asshole to not want to travel in time to England in the 1920s. Aside from the lack of the modern amenities that we have now. Give me an English countryside in a big ass castle and some WiFi. Heaven, methinks.

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I was hoping it would be sexier. There, I said it. I wanted some scandalous 1920s action and I just didn’t get it. It was very much a character-development heavy movie, a study of relationships, faith, family, and society. It certainly wasn’t a thrill.

A highlight was Emma Thompson and Michael Gambon – that’s Professor Trelawney and Professor Dumbledore – playing an estranged married couple. They kicked all the ass; class acts, those two!

It was definitely reminiscent of something like Atonement. Kind of split up in two parts – the first being intriguing and almost mysterious. The second part being devoted to basically every character becoming depressed, dying, dealing with inner demons (how’s that for some alliteration?) So, a bit of a long, drawn-out downer but kind of lovely.

This has been a real bullshit review.

*** stars (solid acting, lovely to watch, kept me interested. Not a lot of rewatch qualities. Except to check out Matthew Goode’s aaaaaass)