Thursday, June 25, 2009

STAR TREK 2009 They still have hay in Iowa in the future!!

Do you have any idea how AWESOME this movie is?  I mean, it's been getting good reviews all over the place, but I have yet to read anything from the farm kid point of view.  This movie has just warmed my heart and raised my pulse.  Wanna know why?

Look at this- JJ Abrams has imagined a future earth with hay bales!  And dirt roads!  And old Corvettes!

Thank you Star Trek, I feel now like we are not doomed to a future of perpetual pavement.  I can breathe again.  

We went to see this on opening night.  (Yeah I know, that was over a month ago. I neglect this blog terribly.  Sorry.)  My daughter has developed a bit of a Star Trek fascination.  She's not a rabid Trekkie, but she thinks William Shatner is "the best" and has nicknamed herself Tribble.  

After all the initial drama involving Romulans and explosions and Mrs. Kirk, we headed back to earth, where a young punk Kirk is taking out his step-dad's antique Corvette for a little spin. I think this kid is all of ten years old.  My 12 year old son thought this was perfect.  He's a firm believer that as long as you can reach all the pedals and shift at the same time, you should be allowed to drive.  

Also, in the future, we still listen to the Beastie Boys!  See, don't you feel better about the world now?

But let's not discuss what happens to the Corvette, okay?  Thanks.

Apparently we won't need to wear helmets in the future.  Oh what a relief! Whatever invisible technology gets invented to protect our skulls... can we have that now?  

Here's our first glimpse of the Enterprise.  Magnificent.  Honestly, the visuals in this movie are quite beautiful.
I won't be getting into plot analysis here; other blogs do that better than I care to.  I'm really just all about the experience.  And the scenery.  And the handsome.  

I will make note of the excellent casting.  Each of the actors was believable as their character.  This could have been disastrous, since Star Trek is so familiar.  I'm in a generation that never knew life without Star Trek.  Even my Mennonite Grandpa used to watch it now and then (although he was more into Batman, and Wonder Woman!)

The actors weren't just copying a well known performance though-- they were inventing the person who would become that iconic character.  

Watching this movie with my kids gave me a good opportunity to explain to them what a revolutionary show this had been in the 60s.  The original Enterprise was crewed by a multicultural group of men and women - not just a bunch of white dudes.  There was even -gasp- a Russian on board, at a time when Russia was considered "the enemy."  And then there was Uhuru- a black woman who was beautiful, wore a miniskirt (hey, it was the 60s) but totally held her own on the bridge of the ship.

And then there's this guy...
Tribble fell in love.  So did all her friends.  I didn't know if anybody other than Nimoy could do this role.  Impressive.  By the way, Tribble thinks Nimoy is also "the best."  She's very equal opportunity when it comes to the Spock/Kirk thing.

And this guy! Where'd he come from??  I thought this was an excellent suggestion as to how Captain Kirk started out.  He gets beat up by darn near everybody but he's still cocky and mouthy, and nothing stops him from flirting with the girls!  I mean, you can see it, right?

Tribble's in love with him too, now.  Jethro thought it was hilarious that in every shot of Kirk, he's got a scrape or a bruise or a cut on his face.  Scrapper!

Jethro loved the way the movie lovingly references the original series, but never once lets it get as far as parody.  That must be an incredibly fine line to walk.  Never once did we hear "She's breakin' up captain!" or "Beam me up, Scotty."  Close, but not quite.  If those lines had been there, it would wreck it.  It would have gone too far.  Instead it was handled perfectly.

Of course there's a little time-twisting stuff to keep your brain busy.  It's a prequel, but it also goes way back, to young James Tiberius, and cute little Spock.  Awww!  So cute!

Oh but wait- we also get some future Spock!  I don't remember how they explained this.  I didn't care; it was just cool to see NIMOY!  

See what I mean about the excellent casting?!?

So the Iowa farm boy scuffles and postures his way to the Captain's chair, all cocky smirk and flirtatious bluffing... and bloodied...

And the rest is history... or yet to be imagined... 

Monday, May 04, 2009

X MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE Heck this ain't a movie review. It's just a bunch o' pictures...

I took my 12 year old son to see this movie because he is a budding adrenaline junkie and loves explosions and things blowing up and mushroom clouds and chase scenes and sparks and explosions.  He reeeeally wanted to see this one.

I do not enjoy watching violence. I get a little sick to my stomach from all the bloodless mass killing. Bloody killing is worse.  We have all the pacifistic discussions afterwards, about the consequences of violence and the choices the characters made.  But there's no getting around it: the boy likes action.  
Me?  I like handsome men.  

I actually do think it's a pretty good movie; it's great looking, has a plot, and even throws in a few moments of comic relief in there to balance out all that rage! and revenge!  

Oh- and did you know that the Wolverine is Canadian??? That he's from way up north?  And that... he's a LUMBERJACK?!?  What?  Yeah-huh!

No way!  WAY!

This movie contains A WHOLE LOTTA HANDSOME.

Ryan Reynolds! Such a nice Canadian boy.  

Liev Schrieber, all bulked up and eeevil, with catlike agility! 

Taylor Kitsch... where've you been all m'life? (Um... in CANADA?)  (yep that's how he spells it) got to wear the BEST crazy cowboy hats and belt buckles, and pulled it off with cool swagger.  Also he has lovely eyes.  

See, I'm equal opportunity with the good-lookin, so I can confess that I was quite taken with Lynn Collins, who melts brains with her blue eyed stare.  (It's not as unpleasant as it sounds.)

Daniel Henney as Agent Zero.  Huh?  Really?  Zero?  Hardly!  

Yep, if you can get past the violence - it is a comic book universe story, after all - there's lots to look at.  I'm just sayin'.

Doesn't he look awesome in that ripped up white Hick Hugger?  

Ah yes, current Sexiest Man Alive (although I still have my preferences on that...) as well as Oscar host, Broadway star, Van Helsing (silly movie but he looked great) and family man.  

Finally, I want you to know that I love EVERYTHING about this.  Love the denim jacket with the fuzzy collar.  Love the belt buckle!  Totally love the beat up El Camino. Love the workboots.  Love the general lumberjack vibe. Even diggin' the feathery 70's Camaro chick hair.  

I just love a nice manly outdoorsy Canadian guy, don't you?

(Yeah I know Jackman's not Canadian, he's Australian; everybody knows that, right?  But this was actually filmed partly in New Zealand.  I think New Zealand is another of my favourite actors.  It's played Japan, Canada, and Middle Earth.  Hugh, you look really good as Wolverine, and New Zealand, you look really good as Canada!)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


It's a real nod to the 50s monster movie flick, but all slicked up and polished for the new century. Have a seat and forget about all the modern threats of disaster.  Monsters!  Aliens!  In the same flick!   

The main reason we went to the theatre to see this movie is THE CAST.  Some of our favourites provide voices, and I'm sure, mannerisms to these characters.  Plus it's something we can all enjoy; with our kids outgrowing most of the G rated flicks, but me being quite squeamish about scary/ violent/ way too grownup movies, we're all happy with the PG rated comedies.  

This sucker is pretty darn funny.

It has the required action-chase stuff that kind of zones me out every time.  I tire easily of seeing buildings get destroyed and shoot-outs and crap.  However, there are some laugh out loud moments here to make it all worth it.

You don't need to know much going in.  The basic plot starter is a young woman's journey from agreeable bride to empowered woman.  Yup, that's what it is.  Kid you not.  Call it what you want, that's the core of it.  Mind you, being a woman of rather small stature, I couldn't help but chafe that in order to gain her power she's gotta be like, 40 feet tall and super strong.  Yeah yeah, symbolism, whatevs.  Seriously.  It's still all about physical strength.  Blah.

Also, why in 2009 do we still have to be going on about how a girl doesn't have to marry a doofus and do whatever he wants to do?  Duh.  Okay I'm over it now.  

On with the FUNNY!

It's no secret that I adore Rainn Wilson.  We all do.  He's SO good in this character that I forgot it was him.  As the evil alien overlord GALLAXHAR, there is no trace of his dorky Dwight Schrute.  Just pure self centred, power hungry would-be dictator of the universe!

This guy has one of the best voices in the biz these days.  Love his voice.  Watch for the part where GALLAXHAR tells his life story while taking a turn in the cloning machine.  That was awesome, I mean it, I'd watch that ten times in a row if I could.

Ask anybody who sees it who their favourite character is and I bet they'd say B.O.B.

Seth Rogen amps up the adorable for this one.  And, his timing is perfect.  

Reese Witherspoon is tiny and blonde.  Ginormica is giant and shaped like a Barbie doll.  Oddly enough it works. 

Hugh Laurie as Dr Cockroach, PhD.   I really am not familiar with this guy because I've never watched his big TV show, but you know what?
This is the first Cockroach, EVER, who has not sent me into fits of shivering disgust.  I actually quite liked him!

Ah... Will Arnett.  I love that guy.  Who better than to play the Missing Link, that slimy arrogant creature?  
On top of that, Stephen Colbert as the clueless, Reagan-haired, finger-cannon-throwing President, and Kiefer Sutherland as General W.R. Monger (geddit???).  Watch the credits at the end, because there are more.  Hint: keep your eye on "Katie and Cuthbert" on their date.  

One of the big deals about this movie is that supposedly you can see it in 3-D.  I can't figure out why you'd bother.  We saw it without the hassle of the funny glasses, and I thought it was 3-D enough.  Maybe I'm wrong and the technology has improved even in the last couple of years, but in general I find that it makes my eyes go squirrelly and I can't keep watching.  As it is, the movie looks very layered.  In fact, for the first five minutes I kept thinking, "Oh, where the guy points at something... that'd be where it jumps out at us.  Got it.  Next."  

Often I was amazed at the visuals.  The detail is incredible.   I mean, LOOK at this.  

Every cloud, every leaf, every blade of grass.  It's hyper-real.  Except for Ginormica's waist... I think they could have made that a little more real.  Just sayin.  

Monday, February 23, 2009

2009 Academy Awards!

Alright kids, I've got 2 hours and 55 minutes worth of lean mean Oscar machine to cover here, so hang on tight and let's go!!

The first person I saw when I turned on my TV was Kate Winslet.  And the first thing I said was, "Oh, I don't like her hair like that."  I do like her dress.  It's interesting and shiny, BUT may I remind us all that this is KATE WINSLET who has a stunning figure, and this dress does not do her justice!  She just looks kind of severe, and I don't think of her that way.  

Well anyways, she's lovely and **SPOILER ALERT** hahaha, I'm going to tell you how the show ended!  She's your Best Actress.  Have you seen The Reader?  Neither have I.  Neither has Hugh Jackman.  

Josh Brolin, Supporting Actor nominee, looked just right, in my opinion.  Maybe it's my belief that a guy in a beard is trustworthy.  Maybe it's because he's just a naturally handsome fella. Maybe it's because Diane Lane is a class act and they look so happy together.  

Then I got an eyeful of The Cyrus Kid in her horrid, ugly, crusty dress.  Look, I may think she has the voice of a 40 year old rock radio DJ with a 30 year pack a day habit, but The Cyrus Kid is cute, and why, WHY would anybody wrap up 16 years worth of cute in 70 lbs of UGLY?  

I got a good laugh out of her though.  She said, in her charming accent, "Ayngelina is, lahk, mah favret person of ahl tahm" which made me think she hasn't done enough reading yet in her life. Nothing against Angelina.  I like her too.  But of all time, Miley.  Of all time.  That's like, a long time ago and stuff.  I wondered aloud why the heck The Cyrus Kid was even there.  My Hick Kid reminded me that she provided the voice for an animated movie that I disregarded cuz I thought it looked kinda lame.  Later I read that Miley wishes Angelina would adopt her.  Careful what you wish for: there are a lot of diapers and baby puke in Angelina's house!

Speaking of Angelina...

She looks like she might have gained 2 lbs, so that's good.  It means Brad is feeding her well. Good for you, Brad.  You better be letting her take naps too.  

I'm going to say it: she is stunning.  I was kinda disappointed that she wore a severe black dress (even though she's awesome in black... it's been nice to see her in colours lately!) but I really like the unexpected emerald earrings and ring.  She was the flash of bright green among all the diamonds; she is different, which is why I like her.  

And Brad.  Darnit Bad Brad, you make it very hard for me to stay mad at you.  

I know he's been cultivating that very strange eyebrows-up-skeevy-character-with-a-mustache look, but... come on.  He has that lovely little goatee with a bit of silver in it.  And those dimples. Sigh.

I swooned audibly when Robert Downey Jr showed up. RDJ!  He looks like a million bucks!

He referred to his wife, producer Susan Levin, as "my date for the rest of this incarnation."  Only he said it in his usual halting, slightly distracted yet deeply intense kind of way.

Mickey Rourke showed up lookin' all Mickey Rourke about things.  I'm really getting an affection for this guy.  He's got that Johnny Depp-like way of dressing how he likes and not caring how everybody else looks.  

His ancient little dog died six days ago.  Oh, Loki.  He'd been carrying her around everywhere he went for the last couple of months.  He wore her picture around his neck. If you don't love him for that, you have no heart.

But then.  Zac Efron actually had me in fits of anger.  Yes, anger.  That, on his head, is a GREASY COMB-OVER!!  

Kid, don't you know that NOBODY can get away with this?  I just - I mean, you can't -- like this is just- aaarrggghhhh.  These frickin kids today!  Grr. 

Here, have some brain bleach.  Replace that awful image with this:

These two gorgeous ladies are Viola Davis and Taraji P Henson. 

They were in the Best Supporting category together.  Don't they look beautiful?  (Although I suspect that Viola's gold dress, which is super flattering on her, might be made of some disgusting plasticky fabric.)  This is such a great picture; one of the images I want to remember when I think of the 2009 Oscars.

Marisa Tomei's dress was an amazing piece of sculpture.   And, it fit!

I'm not usually a fan of muted neutrals but I thought she looked very elegant.

Before the actual show got started, we heard the production designers discuss what they were going for.  I believe the phrase "Magical Sense of Occasion"  got thrown out there.  Well.  As it turns out, we couldn't get the sound to go through all these speakers that Jethro wired up... something about HD broadcast and needing to have a working tuner in the stereo VCR-TV-DVD-XYJK mess, while all I know is that if you turn the bug antennas the right way the screen is clear.  This is the price I pay for being cheap.  What?  Cable is a waste of money... I only watch one channel at a time.  Geez.

Finally the crystal curtains parted- yes, curtains made of Swarovski crystals, imported from Swarovskovia, haha- and there he was- HUGH JACKMAN!

The Wolverine!  The Sexiest Man Alive!  He acts!  He sings!  He dances! He hosts!  

I thought his opening act was genius.  His whole thing was about the old economic downturn, the recession, the hitting of the skids.  He claimed that the budget really got cut, so he spent the weekend in his garage making props for his song and dance.  He acted out all the best Picture nominees.  My favourite was his impression of the Reader.  It was a confusing interpretive dance explaining that he...

 didn't see The Reader, 
he went to the theatre, 
but it was a very long line, 
people seeing Iron Man a second time...

You could tell he actually SANG because he was a little breathy. Yay! Let's hear if for imperfection!  Let's hear it for real life performances!

I can't remember why, now, but Anne Hathaway was up on stage with him as part of the number. I just remember thinking, "she's a good sport."

I thought she looked great. She has finally grown into her big eyes. Lovely.

This year, for the Actor presentations, five former winners came out and spoke briefly about each nominee. It was cool. And probably really embarrassing for the nominees!

Penelope Cruz held her little gold man and said something I scribbled on paper, as best as I could remember it:

Art in all its forms is our universal language, and must be protected.

That is so perfect.  Please remember that.  Thank you, Penelope.  (I read somewhere that she's wearing a 60 year old dress.  I think that is so cool!)

Tina Fey and Steve Martin presented the Screenplay Oscars. They are funny on their own, but together they're killer.  They went on a one-upping contest that ended with:

"Don't... fall in love with me!" 

Ha! Too late!

Suddenly I want to write a movie.  Winner Dustin Lance Black, for the Original Screenplay "Milk" gave a very moving and personal acceptance speech.  I cheered.

Simon Beaufoy, winner of Adapted Screenplay for "Slumdog Millionaire" thanked the author of the novel "Q&A" which the movie was based on.  I cheered again.

Jennifer Aniston and Jack Black presented the Animation Awards.  I didn't get that pair-up.  And you know I love Jack Black.  He ROCKS.  AWKWARDLY.  

Now here's the thing.  I didn't like Jennifer's dress.  There's nothing awfully offensive about it, but it makes her look sort of... average.  That's just wrong.  She has one of the best bodies in this business.  She is physically perfect.  This boring dress does not do her justice at all.

But her boyfriend is cute.  Does anybody else thinks it's stupidly hot that he's almost a decade younger that she is?  And he looks so grown up even.  

This picture on the right is now officially my favourite Jennifer Aniston picture.  THAT is cute!

I can't get over how... lucid John Mayer looks! He doesn't look stoned at all!

Speaking of which...My daughter had a little giggly moment when Robert Pattinson showed up to introduce a little Romance 2008 montage - gotta have a montage - which featured lots of good looking people, some man-kiss, and finally two adorable robots that made us all go, awwww!

Pattinson made me giggle too!  Not just because he's a handsome little devil with those cat eyes of his... but because he always looks at least halfway hammered!  I don't know what it is about him and cameras, but his eyes look slightly crossed and somehow he's always got his mouth going sideways.  I have the same problem.  

The next moment of awesome-funny came from Ben Stiller playing Joachin Phoenix, with Natalie Portman in the role of Straight-man.  

It was... perfect.  And that pink dress is lovely.  Too bad you can't see the wad of rejected chewing gum on the podium.  

As if that wasn't enough, we got treated to a "Pineapple Express" thing that had us all laughing -yes, laughing at the Oscars!  

Seth Rogen and James Franco filmed a sketch where they flop out on the couch to watch some movies.  They think "The Love Guru" is "Slumdog Millionaire."  They want to turn an Oscar into a bong.  They laugh at all the serious Academy favourites.  Best?  James Franco plays a stoner watching James Franco play a gay guy kissing another guy.  Did your head just explode?  

Sadly, things took a downturn with the big song and dance number, featuring broadway darling/ Oscar host Jackman, and Beyonce, who must be on some kind of contract to show up at every awards show, ever.  Don't get me wrong, she's amazing, but I burned out here.  The musical is back, apparently, but I didn't know it ever went away.  Maybe I just watch too many awards shows.  

The Best Supporting Actor award was presented by five previous winners again.  Nominee Philip Seymour Hoffman sat there in the audience wearing a toque.

Ya hoser!  Yer wearin a toque with yer tux, eh?  Take off!  Wait, he's not Canadian, is he?  Oh, is he a skateboard kid?  No?  Member of a NuMetal band? No?  Geez man, a toque?  For real?  

You know who was in this category.  Heath Ledger won for his Joker.  I felt it was well deserved, and I also need to say that his father, mother and sister are a classy bunch of people.  Their acceptance speech was honest and appreciative.  I can't imagine how painful it had to be for them to accept that award for him.  

I actually shed a medicated tear. I was amazed when I realized that my eyes were wet.  The camera showing all those actors sitting in the audience choking down their own tears was enough to trigger it. That's an intensely emotional moment.  Anybody who got through that without tears was either asleep or stone hearted.  

The documentary category was interesting.  The winner for Short Documentary, Megan Mylan, announced that she feels lucky to be able to tell these stories.  Wonderful.  The feature Doc award went to "Man On Wire".  The tightrope man himself, Phillippe Petit, did a few little magic tricks to liven things up.  Yeah, sometimes you need a little crazy Frenshman.

Before the Sounding Editing and Mixing awards, we were treated to a rockin' action movie montage.  You know, to keep the young folks interested and all.  I am so pleased that the editors and mixers and cinematographers get televised awards.  Jethro, a guy who will likely never be handed an award on TV, disagreed.  He says the show's too long.  Man, I would have been in ecstatic hysterics if he'd gotten his Juno on TV.  He of course would have been paralyzed by embarrassment.  Oh well.

I didn't like the Memorial part this year.  They had Queen Latifah singing on the stage while the pictures and dates flashed on the screen.  It was distracting, hard to see, and unfair to her and the dearly departed.  I dont' think the audience should be allowed to clap either.  It should be respectful.  

So Jerry Lewis was given a Humanitarian Award, and bless him, he came out, did a short and sweet speech, and was a perfect gentleman.  Good to see him!

By this time, it was clear that "Slumdog Millionaire" is the little movie that rocks the world.  I haven't seen it but have heard that it's an excellent movie, gritty but ultimately hopeful - my favourite combination! - and ends with a big splashy Bollywood dance number.  Director Danny Boyle's grin got bigger and bigger as the evening went on.  When he got his Best Director Oscar I thought he was gonna explode.  He just jumped up and down and talked to his kids.  It was awesome.


To top it off, euphoric Kate Winslet, Oscar in hand, thanked her parents who were somewhere in the audience.  "Dad, whistle or something so I know where you are!"

And he did, sharply!

Sean Penn is your Best Actor.  You know, I think he's mellowed.

He's gonna be quoted for a long time, affectionately calling the Academy "commie homo-lovin sons o' guns."  Then to top it off admitted, "I do know how hard I make it to appreciate me, often."

He also talked about human rights for everybody.  I gotta agree with that.  

So people, have you seen "Slumdog Millionaire" yet?  I think we better.  

When this movie got Best Picture, the stage was full, and it was full of smiles.  

Look at these kids!  Aren't they gorgeous and wonderful?  This is something they'll remember for a long time. 

Dev Patel and Frieda Pinto were glowing and seemed so pleased to be there.  

This is one of my favourite dresses of the whole show.

In contrast, I did feel let down by some of the other actresses.  I hopd Meryl Streep would show up in something frothy accessorized with giant necklaces, just because she's Meryl Streep and can do pretty much anything she wants. 

She looked beautiful, so my disappointment had to settle down.

On the other hand, Tilda Swinton was just such a let down.  She was... beige.  It's just wrong.  She should never be bland!  She looks like a freaky androgynous extra terrestrial David Bowie obsessed zen master.  I want the orange hair and sparkly rubber!  And is that... lipstick?  Oh no, it's just not right.

I hope she gets nominated next year so we get another chance at some Tilda Swinton wackiness.  I mean, we can never hope for genius like The Bjork Swan Dress ever again, but we just have to have that glimmer of hope.  

That's where I'd like to leave you, because HOPE  felt like a big message at this year's Oscar.  

What do we need to tell stories to masses of people?  A script, a story, hard work and talent; according to "Slumdog" producer Christian Colson, passion and belief.  

Say it, Hugh:

"Keep on making movies, and keep on watching them!"