Monday, February 27, 2012

Books vs Movies

As you are aware, one of your favorite books turns movie in about a month - The Hunger Games, and if you're like me or anyone else who's read the books, you're probably terrified that the movies will ruin the books for you forever.

But I'm here to tell you there's hope. Sometimes movies are better than, just as good as, or only slightly worse and still very enjoyable than their novel counterparts. Here's a few...

Fight Club
I read Fight Club years after I saw the movie, and I found the novel pretentious, preachy and tiresome, while the movie was exciting, edgy and well acted, and I'm a Palahniuk fan.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The novel is fan-freaking-tastic and one of my all-time favorite books, but you have to admit Disney's musical version rocks.

Gone with the Wind
The movie changed so much of the book, but nobody cared. The book is amazing, and the movie is one of the greatest movies of all time.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 
All 6 of the other movies were horrible compared to the wonderful Harry Potter book series, however, movies seven and seven point five soared while novel seven fell flat.

About a Boy
Because I loved the movie I decided to read the book... I was not a fan of the book.

Jurassic Park
This is another good example of a great book turned great movie, although they differ so much from each other that they're hardly recognizable as the same stories.

So, forget about the other Harry Potter movies, forget every other book-turned-movie, and go and see The Hunger Games. If we're completely disappointed... well, our love of the series was fun while it lasted.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Morning Glory

Maybe it was because I had just woken up from a 3 hour Sunday nap, but what I thought was going to be a terrible snore-fest, actually turned out to be one enjoyable movie. At times I actually laughed out loud, as did my husband.

Becky, (Rachel McAdams,) turns a terrible morning show into a success despite an impossible new co-host, Harrison Ford. Diane Keaton plays his co-host, and she actually wasn't horrible at all.

Rachel and Harrison made this movie work. They made the parts that were important pop, and they never hooked up like they would have if they were Jessica Biel and someone horribly older than her, like, oh, say Nicholas Cage.

I actually recommend you watch this movie next time you wake up from a 3 hour Sunday nap. Ignore the way the previews make it seem like a disaster movie.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sometimes Plays are Better Than Movies

Sometimes producers and directors and whoever get together and say stupid things like, "Hey, why don't we film a movie version of a well beloved musical, but instead of hiring talented singers, we'll hire famous actors who LOOK the part...." Well, at least that's what they did with 2004's The Phantom of the Opera disaster.

However, we have all been saved from ever having to watch that again. Next time we're at home and want to watch a movie about a genius maniac obsessed with sopranos we can put in Cameron Macintosh's The Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary at The Royal Albert Hall. (Careful not to confuse it with the dreadful 25th Les Miserables Anniversary. **Shudder**)

The highlights of the production come at the end when on stage steps Sarah Brightman who sings with four previous Phantoms (INCLUDING Les Miserables' brilliant Colm Wilkinson!) Unfortunately, while Michael Crawford appears on stage, he doesn't sing... but that's kind of okay because we've got Colm!

Sierra Boggess played Christine. She was not terrible. I'd go as far as to say I liked her! I really liked Hadley Fraser's Raoul. Raoul is usually portrayed as a wimpy turd, but I can actually see why Christine would like this guy.

This show pulls out the important parts of the play and displays them right in front of your face... the way a good show should. You saw it the moment Christine and Raoul fell in love. You saw Raoul's own fears that Christine would choose this Phantom over him. It was so much better than the let's-get-together-and-sing version Hollywood came out with.

Now the part you've been waiting for... The problems with this production are as follows:

Ramin Karimloo's Phantom was upsetting. There was no dashingness, and no gorgeous verbrato... or any verbrato. He needed to leave the poppy singing school he belonged to, and join the school of the not-sucking. Strange thing is, I actually enjoyed him in that horrible 25th Les Miserables Anniversary as Enjolras... or am I remembering that wrong...?

The other problem was how slowly paced the beginning was. OMG! It felt like I was pulling out my nails waiting for something to happen!

To quote The Duke (As I've done before): Generally I like it.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Friday Night Surprise!

So, yesterday, Friday, I got off work and found I had a voice mail from my husband. I called him up and he reminded me, (because I forgot,) that a certain movie was opening that night... GHOST RIDER 2! I very nearly started jumping up and down in the parking lot.

A few hours later, I was sitting in the theater next to my husband ready for the journey of a lifetime!

But first, I asked the guy in the ticket booth if he had seen the movie. "Ten minutes of it," he said. I said, "Was it awesome!?" "Not the ten minutes I saw," he said. 

I can't put my finger on which ten minutes he saw, because every minute of this movie was packed with awesome! What kind of nerd can't appreciate a great terrible movie!?! Obviously he doesn't read my blog.

Anyway, since I already know you're going to see this movie, and you don't need a review from me, I'll just tell you a few things you should know going in.

1. Many theaters offer a deal where if you buy the giant combo, you can get a free popcorn and soda refill. A good time to take advantage of this deal is during the scene where "Daemon" and Ghost Rider sit on the back of "Rosemary's" semi. Oh yes, the less you see of that scene the better. It's gross, as well as the dumbest part.

2. Go ahead and spread out... opening night, the theater was 9% full.

3. There are a few alarming moments when Nicolas Cage attempts a psychotic laugh (above,) which just comes across as... creepy... and a bit embarrassing.... It's less Evil Dead II, and more... I guess... Ghost Rider II....

4. Don't stay till the end of the credits; there's zilch. :(

Monday, February 13, 2012

Who Did it Best?

It seems that every era of television consists of borrowed plot lines. All series have an episode involving a ghost; all series have an episode where someone is robbed, etc.

In the 90's, the fantasy TV shows graced us with more used plot lines. They stole them from each other, and ran them into the ground... which we're grateful for.

So, here they are, for us to decide...


Disclaimer: I wrote this in the early 2000's, (long, long ago when I used to watch Smallville,) saved it on my computer, and then decided to share it with you today.

Borrowed episode #1.
An episode where someone gets split in half, creating for themselves an evil twin.
Which seasons used this plot?
In the episode, a super slick Xander takes on a slob Xander.
In the episode a super evil Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum, right,) battles a not-so evil one.
Who did it best?
Smallville. Seeing a Lex Luthor who wasn't being nice to Clark was like peeking into the future. Although the Buffy episode was funny, it was a little Xander-heavy.

Borrowed episode #2.
An episode with Groundhog's Day syndrome.
Which seasons used this plot?
In the episode Xena must turn a tragic Romeo & Juliet situation into a happy ending before she can have a tomorrow.
Hardly able to realize it, Molder (David Duchovny, left with Scully/Gillian Andersen,) re-lives the same doomed and boring bank robbery.
Jonathan and friends distract the slayer with a very long repetitive day.
Who did it best?
Xena. Her patience wears thin and we get to see her do something she's always wanted to do... kill Joxer.

Borrowed episode #3.
An episode with vampires.
Which seasons used this plot?

Xena is bit in this boring episode with Bacci.
Molder throws his sunflower seeds to buy some time in this hilarious vampire episode told backwards and with different versions from both Molder and Scully.
Lana is turned into a vampire-like diseased woman by her sorority sisters, but Brainiac's confession to Clark that there's no such thing as vampires is the only interesting thing that happens. (Brainiac is played by Buffy's James Marsters, aka Spike... a vampire. [Right with Buffy/Sarah Michelle Geller.])
There are lots of episode with vampires, but we're not counting any of them.
Who did it best?
X-Files. Who knew vampires were so funny?

Borrowed episode #4.
An episode with a body switch.
Which seasons used this plot?

A dying, old, Kryptonite infected man bent on living forever switches bodies with Clark. Wish granted!
SMALLVILLE (That's right. They do it twice.)
While Lex's evil dad, Lionel, is in prison, he switches bodies with Clark, miraculously healing himself of kidney failure.
After her stint in the Underworld, Callisto (Hudson Leick, left,) with the help of Ares, switches bodies with Xena for the best reason: revenge.
Thanks to the nexus of the universe, when Modler switches bodies he is forced to act like a suburban husband and father.
Faith switches bodies with Buffy in order to stay alive. Uck, typical Faith.
Who did it best?
The second Smallville, because if Lionel's in Clark's body he'll find out what Clark is capable of!!!! Oh phew, it looks like, once again, nobody's remembering anything!

Borrowed episode #5.
An episode with possession.
Which seasons used this plot?

Xena possesses Autolycus' (Bruce Campbell, below,) body so the King of Thieves can steal her body away from the cremate-happy Amazons.
The school's most popular senior dies and possesses everybody, then chooses Chloe's body to enact her Carrie-like revenge.
Who did it best?
Despite all the revenge in the Smallville episode, this one goes to Xena. Any episode with Bruce Campbell gets extra points, plus when Chloe tries to act evil it's just pitiful.

Borrowed episode #6.
An episode where the geek is hot.
Which seasons used this plot?

Aphrodite has a bell, which when rung turns Joxer into Studly Joxer.
Xander, with the help of the witch Amy, casts a love spell on Cordilia which backfires. Every girl in Sunnydale besides Cordilia ends up helplessly obsessed with Xander.
Who did it best?
Joxer actually transforms into a different person, while Xander is only seen differently. While both episodes are hilarious, this one goes with Joxer, because his change is greater and it's just fantastic television.

To All You Twi-Haters

There are some things you should know.

1. Nobody really thinks Twilight was well written. We don't enjoy it because of Stephenie Meyer's turn-of-phrase. We enjoy its plot, story and characters.

2. We know that sparkly skin is lame. We're over it.

3. We're generally not embarrassed or ashamed of liking Twilight, because of our awareness listed above. So when you go off about sparkly skin and repetitive adjectives... you might as well be talking to a wall, (a really attractive wall, with a great sense of humor.)

4. Side note: Please don't think I'm being defensive. I just thought you'd all like to know. I'm more slightly annoyed by constant Twilight-bashing than offended, (see #3 for reasons why we're not offended.)

5. Although, I understand why you hate on Twilight. It's easy to find people who agree with you because it's so famous. And when people agree with you, you look smart. If you always complained about how much you hated  some book/movie nobody had ever heard of... who would that impress? So, as my gift to you, here is a list of actresses who are just as bad as Kristen Stewart, and books that are just as poorly written. Impress your friends by hating on them today!

Natalie Portman
Anne Hathaway
Mia Wasikowska

Uck, just thinking about Speak makes me bored with writing down other books that are worse than Twilight. Go ahead and continue hating on Twilight then, just whatever you do, promise me you won't read Speak.


Shakespeare's life is littered with speculation. Some say he was homosexual, some say he had help writing his plays, blah, blah, blah nobody cares. This isn't The Da Vinci Code, where the so-called secrets actually matter. The movie doesn't exactly provide any truth, or even anything worth thinking about. It's just a story. The movie makers saw how well Shakespeare in Love did, even though that film wasn't any good, and decided to make some sort of Shakespeare drama.

Throw in some Tudors and you've got a curious audience. But curiosity and caring are two different things.

The real author, a nobleman, Edward, the Earl of Oxford, (played by both Rhys Ifans, perhaps best known for playing Xenophilius Lovegood in Harry Potter/ and Jamie Campbell Bower, Caius of the Volturi in Twilight, and Young Grindewald in Harry Potter,) didn't want to take credit for his plays because of, you know, disgracfulness, (for who but some goofy actor named Will would want to take credit for those plays?) Things got political, things got sexy, and Boon got bored.

I enjoyed some parts, and some lines. "All artists have something to say, or else they would make shoes." Sorry, fashion designers.

At moments  art imitates life, like when he stabs someone through the tapestry ala Hamlet... oi. Don't we all hate it when movies show us how some famous person got an idea for something he's famous for...? Don't film makers hate it too?

And parts of the movie, big parts, were portrayed as if the movie were Shrek or Cool Runnings: slow clapping? Crowd surfing? Really?

Queen Elizabeth was portrayed as a jealous slave of emotions, and the author of Shakespeare plays was portrayed as the worst kind of artist, the kind that non-geniuses can get their minds around, the kind that's driven crazy by their work. "The voices!" he shouts. Oh brother.

Then it gets worse, and incest gets involved. Of course, we can't bring up the Tudors without bringing up incest... at least not lately, not in movies.

And sometimes I watch movies and I wonder how the screenwriters, directors, actors and grips got through production. They must have taken napping breaks; they couldn't possibly not have fallen asleep constantly. I only made it through by blogging during it while playing Facebook games.

What's amazing is that we'll watch this movie, but we won't watch Henry V. Go watch Henry V, it stars Harry Potter  actors too.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Defining "All Over The Place."

Disclaimer: Just because a movie is "all over the place" doesn't mean I hate it... it just means I PROBABLY hate it.

So, how can you tell if a movie is, indeed, all over the place. Let's take a look at two study films - 9 to 5, and Jurassic Park.

Now let's put them to the test.

Question 1. Who is the protagonist (lead character)?
Jurassic Park: Sam Neil's character Alan Grant.
9 to 5: Jane Fonda's character Judy Bernly

Question II. What does the protagonist want?
Jurassic Park: Alan Grant wants to not be eaten by dinosaurs.
9 to 5: Judy wants to be treated fairly at work.... only, wait, that's only for the first half of the movie. Later in the movie she is motivated differently and she just wants to not go to prison for killing her boss... THEN she doesn't want her boss to call the cops and report her and her friends, (Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton.)

And THAT is how we find out what movies are all over the place. Unlike Jurassic Park, the motivation of our main characters, (and thusly, the plot,) keeps changing. This is also the problem in Office Space. It starts as a movie about a guy who gets hypnotized and doesn't feel like giving work 110% anymore, and it changes to a movie about a guy who steals from his company.

Now, it's not that these movies are bad. I actually enjoy 9 to 5 and Office Space. It's just that they change the story half way through. It's sloppy writing. I really wanted to see Office Space end with more elaborate escalation, etc. Instead it ended with an end to a different movie. It's not that I didn't like the new direction, it just wasn't what the beginning of the movie prepared me for. It's like if your parents are driving you to Taco Bell and half way there they change their minds and drive you to McDonalds. Now, you're a kid, and you're stoked either way... but you had your heart set on volcano tacos.

It's like that.