Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

I am afraid of zombies.
Actually I'm afraid of alot of things.
Zombies. Vampires. Werewolves. The dark. Spiders. Ghosts.

And yet, I love "Shaun of the Dead".
I've read "Twilight" and am proudly of the Team Jacob camp (Werewolves are ALIVE....vampires are DEAD....your crushing on a walking corpse...ewww).
I was obsessed with the "Ghostwriter" show on PBS.
My brother and I have a combined wealth in R.L. Stine "Goosebumps" series.
One of my favorite shows growing up was "Are you afraid of the dark?".
On which I answer with a solid yes.

I admit I am a huge walking contradiction in that I am serious wuss and yet my eyes are peering between my fingers at the horror. Horror as in simple monster horror. Monsters being frankenstein, zombies, vampires, and so on.

Psychological thrillers really mess me up for days and gore movies just disgust me. I also find it pretty disturbing when the people get gleeful at seeing someone hack at another being so mercilessly and emotionless.

On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being absolutely so horrorfying that I am curled to a fetal position to 1 being I just jumped in my seat, I would say "Shaun of the Dead" ranks at about 7. It's scary enough that I'm looking over my shoulder for any passing zombies but not enough that I'm terrified of even crawling into bed.

I thought of this movie after recently establishing enough courage to start on the graphic novels, "The Walking Dead". I made myself read it not just because I heard of the impending television series that's coming out but it deals with a post apocalyptic event. I love post apocalyptic events. Apparently so did the writer since he focuses more on the humans relationships than just zombies.

Which naturally lead my thoughts to "Shaun of the Dead". It's hailed as one of the most funniest and clever zombie homage movies there is. Granted, I haven't seen any of the zombie movies that are referenced but that doesn't really hold alot of weight in loving this movie.

With alot of british humor and hilarious comedic acting, we follow the survival tribulations of Shaun and his friends. As they set about to hacking through the zombies, they deal with personal troubles such as Shaun trying to patch up things with his girlfriend and dealing with the antics of his best friend.

There is so much that can be said about this movie. The fast paced editing is a constant gag. The songs that are spliced in(A certain Queen song will always have a different memory for me). The zombie cameos (Chris Martin of Coldplay pays a zombie...heh). British humor galore yet still so funny that Yanks can laugh out loud too.

It's a scary and fun movie. Really, really hard to find that kind of combination in movies lately. Or just a good movie that's enjoyable period.

I would advise that if there are any themed screening events where you can dress up...do so. Way fun!(i.e. for those in Los Angeles : http://hollywoodoutdoorcinema.com/)

Monday, August 30, 2010

CryBaby (1990)

I would like to credit this movie as starting my first major crush on the enchanting creature named Johnny Depp.


With raging hormones and the beginning itchings of teenage rage, this movie was my ultimate teen movie. Every element in the movie fascinated me. From the twisted outlook on society of John Waters point of view, to the catchy soundtrack, and the rebelliousness freedom of the Drapes.

In this movie, there are two factions in society. The "Drapes" are the delinquents of society. Those that refuse to conform to clean cut images and music. Those that love to run around on bikes or wear sexy clothes. Then there are the "Squares" who are everyone else.

"Cry Baby" is a love story between a rich Square girl named Allison who falls for bad boy Cry Baby Walker. Despite the Squares flatly refusing to accept this match, the pair fight their obstacles to be together.

There is a background of catchy music and segments such as the children of one of the Drapes being put in an orphanage where the children are displayed like zoo animals!

Johnny Depp is such asexy beast in this movie! Especially when he's lying with Allison on the field after the concert.....OOOOOOO WHAT A GREAT SCENE!!!

One of my favorite parts in the movie is when Allison zooms off in a motorcycle to help Crybaby towards the ends. It's also the disappointing part of the movie since it ends really open ended. Drats! I wanna see more!!!

The more I think about this movie, the more I love it. It's funny, sexy, and fun. I guess I admire alot of John Waters movies(I LOVE Hairspray!). I really dig the way his characters are over exaggerated ideas of society with some weird quirk.

From Cry-Baby who plays a rebellious teenage leader of the Drapes who...... cries(in a very sexy tear ful way...)

Then there's Pepper(played by Ricki Lake) , a bad ass Drape gangmember.....whose pregnant.

Or Hatchet who is a blond and curvy woman....................with a face that can scare cows.

It's just fun twisted humor!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bedazzled (2000)/ (1967)

I'm not too sure why but I'm watching "Journey to the Center of the Earth" with Brendan Fraser.

This is the most boring action movie I have ever seen. To sadness of my aching heart, one of my favorite cinema heartthrob is starring in it.

As I was doing my chores with this boring movie in the background, I began to list the Fraser movies I have loved. Three came to mind but one really stood out.

There was a little movie called "Bedazzled" that came out while I was in high school. I didn't get to watch it until I was in college and I've loved it ever since.

The movie stars Fraser and the ever snooty Elizabeth Hurley. This version is actually a remake of the 1967 version with Dudley Moore and Peter Cook. I actually love both versions for different reasons.

The 2000 version was more flashier and funnier. Then again I related more to its style of comedy than I did to the '67. The older version was still pretty funny in that slow wacky sixties style. Although there is still this creepy undertone to the '67 version that is signature of that decade. Plus, Dudley Moore is so freaking cute!

Both versions contain the same sort of story. A sad and lonely hero pines away for a beautiful woman that he is hopeless to obtain. By different circumstances, he is granted an opportunity with the Devil who grants him whatever he wants to obtain the girl. The story follows the adage of "Be careful what you wish for". The hero initially believes that he must be different from who he is in order to obtain her. By doing so, he learns what is truly important and also of himself.

In the modern version, the Devil is played by Elizabeth Hurley. I remember watching this and thinking "Goddamn, she is freaking sexy!...I so hate her".

Throughout the movie she is wearing sexy costumes and just looks phenomenal. Brendan Fraser played the hopeless hero in that signature goofy and cheesy way. He toned it down a bit for this movie but there wasn't much choice with Hurley stealing the scenes.

Fraser is really, really funny in this role. There are so many funny parts in this movie! My favorite is when he wishes to be a sensitive guy and cries every time he looks at the sunset. This version emphasized a bit about the idea of heaven and hell than about the inner struggle but it was still sheer fun.

In the older version, the Devil is played by Peter Cook. The way he played the Devil reminded me of the cool, smart kid in my class who I felt was always secretly mocking me. Fun to hang out but you had to keep up your guard. Dudley Moore played the hopeless hero. I just remember feeling sad for him most of the time. The humor was more slapstick but it was still pretty fun.

If I had to compare which one better, I would have to nod towards the '67 version. The story in that version is much more thorough and closer to the intent of the writer. Plus the seven deadly sins are in that version which gives the Devil more depth and background. It pretty much extends the power of the character and adds more biblical darkness around him.

I want to mention that I'm Buddhist and I have zilch knowledge about the bible. I only know the basic stories and the seven sins and such from what I have gleaned from movies and talkative friends. I view biblical stories as I view the stories about Buddha. Fantastical with some lessons. Movies that play around religious theories are really great for philosophical thoughts and conversations. Alot of people get up in arms when ideas that are different from the norm are presented. People get so uptight over these things. I'm of the camp that if you have an idea about a certain thought or theory and is presented in a unique way, than that's great. You need to have outsider views in order to challenge and cement your own beliefs. You have to find your own personal reason for devoting yourself to an idea. Or else your just an empty drone following the loudest person you can hear.

Sometimes you just have to poke some fun at the serious things, eh?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Follow the Fleet (1936)

Something about watching a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers movie after a long day is just right. I figure it's because the films were meant to be made with a light edge because of the depression and all.

Whatever it is that makes watching the dancing pair a delight to watch, I admit to being exposed to only three out of the ten movies they made together.

The first I watched was due to a volunteer gig at the Aero theater. It was a double feature of "Follow the Fleet" and "Roberta".

The thing about most of these movies, is that there isn't really a story. It's just a backdrop for the main event, the tap dancing. These are amazing tap dancing moves. Long tap dance numbers. But amazing nonetheless.

"Follow the Fleet" was the first one I watched. It didn't have the greatest story but from what I remember, there is a sailor, Astaire, who tries to rekindle a romance with his old dancing partner played by Rodgers. Rodgers has a frumpy sister who she makes over. Once made over, Astaire friend begins to romance her.

A semi-romantic, comedy, with beautiful dance numbers would be the best summary for this movie.

Fred Astaire makes up for his un-Hollywood looks for his irresistible charm and phenomenal dancing. You just can't stop staring at his feet. I keep wondering if he ever twisted his ankles...

Ginger Rodgers is what makes the pair dazzle. She plays her characters with a sassy and sharp attitude. She's beautiful and fun. And the fact that she was able to keep up with Astaire is a pretty big feat.

Every time Astaire holds Rodgers as they glide around in circles, it just sends chills down my spine. Anyone who knows anything knows that dancing requires coordination, grace, and above all else, strength. Doesn't matter that Astaire wasn't the suave Hollywood leading man. He had the strength to twirl a girl around and make it look effortless. Sexy.

When Irene Dunn (another favorite classic actress) sang "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes"I was floored.There are no words to describe the deep emotions I felt when I watched that scene.

The song and dance number that really, really lift me away from reality was first watching "Lets Face the Music". It starts off really depressing as they glide across the dark floor. Little by little, you can see the pair lift their dark mood to a determined and strong moves. Something about the whole thing is powerful enough for me to chin up, buck up, and fight on!

Another cool tidbit about this movie?
Seeing a young Lucille Ball play a showgirl!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bebe's Kids (1992)

I don't care what anyone says about this movie. It is one of my favorite animated movies from my childhood.

I don't care that the animation was weird.
I don't care that Tone Loc was the voice of the baby.
I don't care the story is barely there.
I don't care that there was a musical montage for no apparent reason.
I. love. this.movie.

It is awful and silly but I love it regardless. It's one of those movies that instantly transports me to my childhood. I can remember it now.Just sitting on the floor with my little brother giggling at the movie.

I rewatched it last year after spying it in a bargain bin.

I love going through the DVD bargain bin! I find so much treasure!! Movies that are barely less than a decade old that people just forget about! Score!

Even though I am much older and full of book learning,I still reall enjoy watching this movie. It's so silly, there is a whole part dedicated to a "Your Mama" jokes. Sweet.

"Bebe's kids'" has a bare thin plot. It involves a man, Robin,trying to impress a woman by treating her and her son to a trip to Funworld, an amusement park. To his surprise, he picks her up to find that there are three more kids that will be accompanying them to the park. Those kids are Bebe's kids. They are those kids that so misbehaved, you would mutter, "There goes the newest batch for the prison."

You never see who Bebe is but you can tell she is a deadbeat mother who doesn't take care of her kids. The type of mother who pawns them off to the nearest kind friend. That isn't even stereotypical, I know it occurs. I know it can be much worse.

The rest of the movie are just the crazy antics of Robin and Bebe's Kids. Those kids are freaking crazy! They do shit that I wished I have the guts to even think about.

When I was young, I remember thinking, "Wow....they can do that and no one gets mad?". Then I would look at my mother and wonder what would happen if I tried to run off from her and just do something crazy.

Just the thought of her glare would immediately erase any further thoughts.

This movie is really outdated. Think Arsenio Hall outdated. The humor is juvenile and stupid. The crazy situations are just crazy AND absurd. The story doesn't really progress anywhere. The biggest wrench in the whole thing is why even a woman like that would want a guy like him???

For those that grew up in the nineties, this was the humor we had though. There were alot of movie like this. ALOT. Compared to "Howard the Duck" or "Surf Ninjas (which I also loved)", it was just a speck in the huge spectrum of "WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST WATCH and WHY DO I LOVE THIS MOVIE?!?!?" of the time. Glance at my DVD collection and you will automitically question how erratic I am. I have "Pride and Prejudice" next to my "Animaniacs" collection for instance.

Just check out Nostalgic Critic's website for some visual sampling of what I had to watch when I was younger: (www.thatguywithglasses.com).

Now that I'm older, I'm thinking, "Man those kids are jackasses...I bet they're fun to hang out with though..."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Moulin Rouge (2001)

I tend to get sleepy and melancholy when I start to drink. As I waited last night for my book club to start, I was promptly handed the remote control to the amazing flatscreen on the wall (everything looked real...like a play was performing in front of me...) and the first movie my eyes lit on was "Moulin Rouge!". Sold.

I LOVE Moulin Rouge.
Love it.
Love it.
Love it.

Can't get enough of it. I don't know how many freaking times I've seen this movie and I still love it. It's got everything, EVERYTHING, I enjoy in a movie. Catchy remade pop music, crazy-fast cinematography, stunning and trippy visual goodies all over the screen, love story, and Ewan McGregor.

Oh....Ewan McGregor.

I thought he was awesome in Star Wars. I wanted him in Moulin Rouge. Bad.

"Moulin Rouge" is a star-crossed lovers tale.

You know that from the start. John Leguizamo is a midget who is crying right from the start, so you know it's going to end really, really bad.

Anyway, Nicole Kidman (so freaking sexy in this movie) plays a famous courtesan, Satine, of the Moulin Rouge (it's a brothel/ nightclub/bad-sexy-things-happen here kind of place). Ewan McGregor (swoon) plays Christian, a poor poet set upon the ideals of "the revolution" which are: "Beauty, truth, and love". With his friends, they make a play based upon these ideas and set their eyes on the only way to produce it: Harry Zidler of the Moulin Rouge.

In an effort to secure an audience with Zidler, Christian and his boheme friends find a way for him to have an audience with Satine, the closet way to get to Zidler. Christian gets the personal meeting with Satine and they both end up falling in love.

At the same time, the Duke (VILLAIN!!!), has set his greedy beady eyes upon Satine. Zidler encourages the Dukes affections in order for the Duke to invest and renovate the Moulin Rouge into a theater.

Even though, Satine is in love with Christian, she puts on her game face and makes lovey dovey eyes to the Duke. Convinced that he is love, the Duke cleverly holds the deeds of the Moulin Rouge until Satine becomes fully his. He agrees to invest.

To prevent the Duke from suspicion and to be together as much as possible, Satine chooses Christian's play to be performed at the opening of the theater. Bad move.

Oh there is so much more that goes on. It's a musical with clever pop music tie-ins, heart pounding dance numbers, and a romance that makes you sigh.

I remember when I first watched it, it made a huge impression. It was this movie that highlighted what I love about musicals. The music was used to heighten the emotion and was just fun. I'm still exited and giddy every time I hear Kylie Minogue cheerfully say, " I'm the green fairy!" and launches into the trippy sequence of absinthe.

Even though the score wasn't original, I knew the songs. I grew up with these songs. Now they have a new and even better meaning.

After I saw this movie, I don't cringe at hearing Elton John music anymore.

No matter how I'm feeling or what a crappy day I've had, I am always transported to a place of bliss whenever I see this movie.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Over the Hedge (2006)

The same year "Penelope" came out, a darling animated movie came out. It was based on a comic strip of the same name. After I watched the movie, I immediately purchased the book containing the strips. I love the strips and the movie.

The movie was put out by Dreamworks and is one of their lesser known movies. There were barely any advertising on it and I would have almost missed it. I'm glad I caught it.

"Over the Hedge" is comic/story told from the perspectives of woodland creatures who have had their habitat completely diminished by suburbia expansion. The movie focuses on the troubles of R.J. Racoon who has made a deal with a bear to return all the food that R.J. has destroyed. R.J. stumbles upon the impressionable and lovable group of woodland friends who are easily duped into helping R.J. collect food in the name of "foraging".

It's got something for everyone. The dialogue is tongue-in-cheek when it comes to the ideas of suburbia. The antics of the creatures are hilarious and silly. Not enough to make you wonder your IQ level but enough for you to smile and chuckle. The relationships between the animals are sweet. Typical of childrens movies, there are alot of reference that adults would get. If you know the reference of course (i.e. Rose.....Bud....).

I absolutely love Hammy the squirrel. He was hyper and cute. I like to think I resemble him in some sort of way...

I really love this movie. It's sweet, silly, cheery yet not done in an over exaggerated manner. I've watched this movie a gazillion times and I still chuckle and smile throughout. It's just such a simply great animated movie. Movies like this are sorely missed in a time where Toy Story beat out Shrek as the top animated childrens movie. I spit on you Toy Story. Spiiiiiiit.
Then again, I am the small niche of people who are awesome for knowing about "Over the Hedge".

The voice casting for this movie would have been spotless except for Avril Lavigne as the the possum's daughter. Thank goodness she doesn't get much lines.
It's another light movie that cheers me up. It's pure entertainment. It doesn't delve deep into the psyche or question morals. It's shallow enough for me to soak and relax.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Penelope (2006)

I love the fantastic and surreal. The kind of movies that are magical and romantic. I especially love modern retakes of fairy tale idea.

"Penelope" jumps into mind immediately. Not only does it star one of my favorite actresses, Christina Ricci, but also my new favorite male actor, James McAvoy. I fell in love with McAvoy after the movie and again in "Wanted".

The base of the movie is absurd but it's all right with me. Ready?Penelope is a young aristocrat that was born with a pig nose.

Still there? Good.

The story goes that her ancestors had stopped the romance between a servant and of the aristocrats son. The son goes on to marry another of his peer. The servant girl was heartbroken and committed suicide. The mother of the servant was so furious she laid a curse upon the family. A curse for any future young girls of the family to be born with a pig nose.The curse went unheeded for several generations since only sons were borne in the family. Until now.

The only way to break the curse is when the young heiress will be loved by "one of her own".

Cursed with a pig nose, Penelope's family forces her to hide herself until she can find someone who can break the curse. When she becomes of age to get married, her family hires a service to find suitors. They would be interviewed through a mirror. They would confess their interest and she decides to come out and face them. Unfortunately they would bolt.

Poor girl. How much of that would mess up her self esteem?

Fed up with the long trail of terrified males, she escapes her mansion. With a scarf wound tightly around her nose, she experiences the outside world. She meets new friends and falls in love with Mc Avoys character.

There's a whole bunch more to this movie. It's sweet and romantic but that's not the main point. The highlight is Penelope's acceptance of herself and having the courage to go through with life. It's another female empowerment movie amidst the comedy and romance.

Fun enjoyable movie that makes you cheers up. If your a girl.

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

I am seriously, seriously scared of this movie.

I just watched it and I hurriedly started watching "Beauty and the Beast" to mellow out.

Yet despite how terrified of this movie, it's amazing. Now that I've made myself watch a Disney movie, I feel stable enough to write about this movie.

I usually read the books before I watch the movie adaptations. Not just to flinch every time a key story point is grossly done or overlooked. I read the books to understand know the story and see how this person interprets it. Everyone has their own interpretation and sometimes it's brilliant! Brilliant adaptations such as "Pride and Prejudice"(2005) or "Jane Eyre"(1943). Most adaptations have been horribly, horrible. Case in point:TWILIGHT. The only saving grace in that saga is the gratuitous cute boys without a shirt.

The movie is based on the novel written by Oscar Wilde. I shamefully confessed that I tried to read this novel. I didn't make it past 3 pages. The novel was written in the victorian era and I just can't get into it. Which is weird because I can flow through "Jane Eyre" no problem. I couldn't keep my eyes open in the first chapter of Wildes novel. It's just one of those novels that I could not read.

After watching the movie, I have a feeling that my subconscious knew I was going to terrified. So far that's two authors I have problems reading: Oscar Wilde and China Mieville.

The novels concerns the sins and conscience (or lack thereof) of a young aristocrat named Dorian Gray. As he models for his fellow aristocrat friend Basil to paint his portrait, he listens with an attentive ear to a friend of Basil named Lord Henry. Lord Henry has the reputation for being coldly amoral and models his life on doing perfectly nothing. As Lord Henry talks about youth and how Gray should cherish it, he remarks how the painting will always stay young while Gray will grow old. Gray wistfully wishes that if only it was the opposite.

Somehow, someway his wishes are granted. Gray begins to take Lord Henrys advice to enjoy the pleasures of life to heart. For every sin that he commits, it's reflected upon the painting. Throughout the next twenty years, Gray remains young as he manipulates people and takes his pleasure.

The sins aren't explicitly mentioned in the novel or the movie but there's a whole bunch of it. Sex, seduction jilted lovers, bisexualism, leading people to their own suicide, murder.

This movie is SEEPED in metaphors. Due to two major censorship vehicles.

One was the fact the novel was written in the victorian era. There are alot of literature research done on this novel so I would only mention that high society did not take to reading such colorful exploits readily. If Wilde had not cleverly used metaphors and symbolism to buffer the horror, his novel would not have been published. Most of the movie is dialogue which gives you some clues as to what those horrors are.

Two was the Hays Code. This movie was made when censorship of movies made it impossible to even mention any words about murder or bisexualism.

Yet despite the censorship, the movie still strongly conveys the horror that is Dorian Gray. To live a live so empty and hell bent on obtaining pleasure without any regard to those around him shouldn't frighten me but it does. The transition of the painting from young Gray to the horror of True Gray actually had me yelping. The metaphors (i.e. the blocks in the playroom representing the initials of the the deaths he's responsible for) impresses me. I'm not well versed in classical music but the use of Chopin was amazing.

Plus, seeing YOUNG Angela Lansbury singing "Yellow Bird" was just riveting. Which makes my choice for following this movie with "Beauty and the Beast" since Lansbury is the voice of Mrs. Potts.

Next time I watch "The Picture of Dorian Gray" movie for some reason, I'm watching it in the daytime!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Major and The Minor (1942)

I have no idea why I love this movie.

Ok, maybe I have just a few teensy weensy reaons why.

Brace yourself, it's another "aww-shucks- the hero-is -broke" movie.

A young woman named Susan played by Ginger Rogers(huzzah!) is completely, completely broke. She decides to go back home on the train to Iowa from New York. Except she only has enough money for the pre-inflation fare.So she comes up with a scheme to dress like a young girl to get half fare ticket.

(Pssst.....Ginger Rodgers was thirty in this movie.)

She's discovered by the train conductors and rushes into the nearest compartment. There she meets a nice young man named Major Kirby. He believes her to be a young girl and allows her to stay in it.

(Pssst....she's a thirty year old playing a young girl in pig tails....pig tails...)

She falls in love with the Major and decides to accompany him to the boys military school where he works. There she meets the Majors fiance and begins the odd love triangle.

The more she pines away for the Major, the more obstacles that get in her way. Obstacles like every single male student wants to date her. Everyone believes she's just a little teenage girl. Riiiiiiiiight.

Seriously, if this is the product of military school then I fear for national security.

She gets found out not by the Major but the fiance. The Majors fiance tricks Susan into revealing her true age by having her wear a beautiful ball gown.In what has to be the most awesome dramatic non violent cat fight I've ever seen. It's so simple but you feel the intense showdown between the two women.

Evil but understandable on the fiances part. Your essentially watching the point of view from the girl who steals the boy away. You should really be hating on this character, right?

Instead it is by the actinng power and charm of Ginger Rodgers that makes this movie a niche favorite. You can't help but cheer for her when she successully dupes a person. Rodgers is not only talented with dancing but also for her comedic powers. The part where she's a phone operator at the military school cracked me up.

There are a lot of clever sexual innuendos throughout the whole movie. There is the obvious pedophile nods but that is the just scratching the service.

I really scratch my head in this one. By all intents and purpose this movie is weird and disturbing. Plus, the story is very silly and unreal.Yet I really love this one.

Sometimes you just can't explain why you love somethings.

I think I'll blame the heat in rattling my head.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

Have you been to the Petersen Automobile Museum in Los Angeles? Its a wonderful museum that features different cars of style and function.

No surprise, my favorite section is the Hollywood section. As I stood staring at the cars from "Batman" and "Dukes of Hazzard", I was wishing they had the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car.

My brother and I loved this movie. I still own the well worn VHS copy ( I have alot of well worm VHS videos). The story was sweet and fantastical. The songs were catchy. The message was hopeful. Something I find I need in times like these.

One of my all time favorite comedic actors, Dick Van Dyke, stars as Caractacus Potts. Potts is a very, very poor inventor who lives with his two children and grandfather. A chance encounter has Potts meeting with Truly Scrumtious (smirk). Truly is the wealthy daughter of candy maker. Truly sees the derelict condition of the family and tries to give Potts a chance to market a new form of whistling candy he made.

Unfortunately, a swarm of dogs answer the whistles and lays waste to the candy factory. Sorry Bub no luck.

Meanwhile, his children become obsessed with a broken down car that they are convinced is a magical car. Potts uses most of his money to get the car to keep the children happy. He uses his skill to transform it into a magical flying beauty that is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

The whole family and Truly climb abord Chitty and fly off into a land called Vulgaria. Vulgaria is ruled a greedy king that steals Chitty and the children away. Through funny guises and tricks, Potts and Truly attempts to take it all back.

This family is so immensely poor but there is such a strong optimistic wave that your not delving too much in it. Everyone can relate to this movie because of the rough economical time we're going through now. I hate it that I'm broke all the time but I just remember that it's just money and life isn't graded on a money scale.

For me, life is measured in how much happiness I can grow from all the tragedies that I've been through. I have the love of my brother and father. I have the steady love and strength from my ever patient boyfriend. I am blessed with a great group of friends. No matter how much hell we can go through, there will always laughter and magic.

If you made me choose between two cars, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or the Delorean, then I would hate you massively. I would want to covet BOTH cars! The only connection is that they both fly. I would want Chitty for its vintage feel and open interior. I would want the Delorean because it can travel through time.

There are so many wonderful musical numbers in this movie. They're not so sappy sweet that you would vomit nor are they lacking soul. It's catchy and sweet. Even now, I sometimes catch myself singing "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" as I'm stuck in LA traffic.

In the small hopes that my little car will wake up and start flying. Of course.

Pillow Talk (1959)

The Doris Day movie that started my admiration for Doris Day. THIS is the THE movie to watch if you ever were curious about this lovely actress. This is the best entertaining movie that she has starred in.

She stars alongside with the HOT-but-gay Rock Hudson. I like to ignore his true sexuality and pretend he's straight. It doesn't matter his sexuality really. He plays such a charming and suave male that you cannot help but swoon.

I've been thinking of when to actually write a blog about this since I love this movie so much. A special day like my birthday maybe. Or some other significant moment.

Three reasons I'm writing this blog now:
1.I'm holding onto a pillow.
2. I can't fall back asleep.
3. My boyfriend is snoring next to me holding a pillow.

Sounds like a good reason to write about "Pillow Talk".

Doris Day usually plays about 2 types of characters. The lovable and innocent leading lady or the sexy and independent woman. She plays sweet for about 99% of her movies. She only does sexy in this one. To be accurate, naturally sexy.

From the opening shot of her in her apartment, she's only clad in a slip and she's rolling stockings up her legs. You know, I've never understood how these women manage to successfully roll up her stocking in a sexy way. I'm hunched over huffing and puffing as if I'm lacing up boots instead of nylon.

From what I understand (and bear with me since I tend to skewer historical details), getting individual telephone lines were impossible since they were still being strung across the country. Most people had to make due with sharing a line.

Doris Day plays Jan Morrow, who shares a line with Rock Hudson's character, Brad Allen. Jan's biggest problem is that Brad constantly ties up the line since he's always on the phone romancing strings of women. Fed up, Jan establishes a phone schedule where she takes, "the hour to the half hour," and he takes "half hour to the hour" or some schedule like that. Either way they each get 30 minutes every hour.

Brad is under the idea that Jan is an old,ugly lonely thing until he chances upon her in a nightclub. To prevent her from recognizing his voice, he dons a sexy, oh so sexy, cowboy drawl and introduces himself as Rex Stetson (hee hee, clever...'cuz Stetson is a hat...you know a cowboy hat?...heee hee).

So begins a romantic comedy of disguises and lies.

Oh this movie is so much fun! The dialogue is clever and funny. Day and Hudson are such a great acting pair (They were so swell, they made several more movies together).

The supporting cast just adds more fun from the hungover cleaning lady, the elevator operator who dotes on her, and the Brads friend/boss, Jonathan Forbes (hee hee...clever), played by Tony Randall.

Just try and get the theme song out of your head. Just try. And the "Rolly Polly Song"..I want to clap my hands.

By the way, Rock Hudson was gay but in the movie he was not pretending to be gay to get to Doris Day. I have seen a lot of people thinking this. That doesn't even make a remote flicker of sense. Brad played Rex to be the antithesis of Brad: sweet, innocent, kind, and caring. Watch the movie and see if you get "gay" anywhere in that plot point.
The ending of the movie is sweet and you just can't help but smile. Possibly wiggle a bit from how romantic it is. Maybe even squeal.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ramen Girl (2008)

My roomie and I went to an amazing ramen place near our apartment called Kyushu Ramen. It was absolutely delicious! I loooove noodles. I think my bowl was called Shiyo ramen. It was soy sauce soup with stewed pork. I even tried the gyoza..MMMmmmm. I just had lunch but now I'm craving it! It was a great way to start off the week.

It also reminded me of a great movie that starred Brittany Murphy before her death.I've admired Murphy ever since she played the geek to valley girl in Clueless. I thought she was awesome in "Just Married". She was a quirky actress with huge eyes. Really fun to watch.

In "Ramen Girl", Murphy plays Abby who is now stranded in Tokyo. She had followed her boyfriend only to have him dump her. She doesn't have any mother and she doesn't understand Japanese at all. She wanders into a local ramen shop where the chef takes pity and gives her bowl to eat. From that first bite she is hooked. She is deteremined to become a ramen chef. With much gestures and reluctance, the chef agrees to take her on. She goes through exhausting trials of becoming ramen chef.

Whats the big deal right? It's just a bowl of noodles. Hell, we even have the package ones that every college students covets. Try telling that to a ramen chef and see if you have any genitals left.

Like sushi chef, sumo wrestles, manga artists, or any profession in Japan, ramen chef is taken very seriously. A good ramen chef must balance out the spices and texture to obtain the right bowl. In every movie I've seen that involves food, there is the underlying lesson that creating food food is an extension of your emotions and soul. For the ramen chef, it must be a strong emotion like love that would make it a ramen bowl.

This movie has a great balance of comedy and drama. I don't know if I buy the romance part of it but I can easily look it aside for the comedy. Every time the chef became frustrated, I would think back to how my mom was with me when I tried to prepare a basic thai dish. The language barrier gag will always tickle me silly.

It's a sweet movie and something of an empowerment for me. I'm uplifted by her determination to see being a ramen chef through. What I come away with is, it doesn't matter what your goal is. As long as it means something to you and your determined then fight on!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Colma: The Musical! (2006)

I'm currently involved in the production of a little ol' fan fiction movie. Holy cow, it is difficult and time consuming. I can only imagine how hard it is to make an independent movie. But to make an independant musical???!?! WHOA...

Imagine. Trying to cooridnate new actors/actresss into acting their parts the way you want them and add in choreography and singing numbers? Geez! That just blows my mind.

Do you know how difficult it is to coordinate a scene? Not even that, coordinating where to eat with your friends after a movie???

And even if your able to overcome all the technical difficulties of a musical, how do you go about making it enjoyable, fun, and with songs that will stick to an audience?( I'm not including major broadway plays here. I'm talking independant musicals and how many are there of that???)

Richard Wong directed a musical. It was the most amazing and sincere musical I have ever seen. I rate it pretty high in my list of musicals.

I got to see Richard Wong at a Q&A session after one of his screenings during the Visual Communications Asian Film Festival. I can't remember the name of this screening. It was a cool trippy movie about a guy running away from getting his heart broken. Wong had a guy follow around with an acoustic guitar. I loved the music. When Wong was introduced as the director of "Colma:The Musical", he was greeted with wild applause. Naturally I was curious to know what the big deal it was.

Yeah. It's a majorly big deal.

"Colma: The Musical" is set in a small town called Colma. Three friends have recently finished high school and are in a state of limbo. That in between state where you have the world to see but no means or know-how to get there. They spend their time either working part time jobs or crashing parties. There are alot of little story goodies dealing with relationships and the uncertainty of the future.

And they sing!!! My favorite parts are the bar and the party. That song that the female friend sings still plays in my head now and then[CRASH!...the party...hmmm hmmm]

Whether your fresh from high school or college, this movie would resonate with you. It doesn't matter of your from a small town or the big city. Everyone is always lost during this time. Even if you had some sort of future mapped out in your head, you will still be uncertain.

I also LOVE musicals!

The music is done by H.P Mendoza. The lyrics are just funny and amazing. Check it out(this is from the scene where the female friend, Maribel, is walking around the college party they just crash):

Twenty-one year old appeal
I can’t believe how young I feel
And it makes me feel I’m cool as shit
All the non-conformists gather
‘Round to show off wax and lather wit
Everybody’s cool as shit

And no one knows how young we are
We’re all on the same page
No one knows how young we are
That we are underage
Come on! Let’s do a shot
None for me
More for us

Crash the party and they’ll never know
[We’re on the slow and steady]
Act the part and they will never know
[I’m feeling cool already]
Crash the party and they will never know

Maybe I’m not cool enough
To understand this hipster stuff just yet
But there’s one thing I don’t get
Is that what we’re gonna be
When we grow up [What, Loud?]
You see? That’s great
Obnoxious seems to be my fate
As long as he says random things
With funny faces and make
Everything his random thing
There’s only so much I can take
Well, I think he rocks
In that sucky way
Let’s do a shot

Crash the party and they’ll never know
[We’re on the slow and steady]
Act the part and they will never know
[I’m feeling cool already]
Crash the party and they will never know
[This party really fucking blows!]

Is this the bathroom?
Yes it is
[You and me, let’s do a shot of straight Kahlua]
Is there someone in there?
[I’m taking a shit]
[Or perhaps you feel a shot of straight tequila?]
Maybe while I’m standing here
You could grab me an ice cold beer
Sure give me a second
Maribel, you’re being beckoned

[You’re sweating
So are you. You have paint on your face
So do you
No I don’t
Oh, well, I just came from rehearsal
So I didn’t have time to wash the paint off
You’re in a play?
Yeah. I’m a Thespian
Awesome! I’m an actor
I didn’t think I’d meet an actress tonight
Actually, I prefer to be called an actor
Oh, Right. Right. That whole woman thing
That whole woman thing?
Sorry, I didn’t…I didn’t mean…I mean
That’s okay
I should go
Can I get my beer?
Right. Sorry

Crash the party and they’ll never know
[Some things, you can’t reverse it]
Act the part and they will never know
[I’m such a stupid person]
Crash the party and they’re out the door
[We’re on the slow and steady]
Crash the party and then we’ll drink it all
[I’m feeling cool already]
Crash the party and they will never know

That was funny right? Just watch that scene and it is just HILARIOUS!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Amateurs/The Moguls (2005)

Once again, I would like to thank Ralph Garmon for this movie recommendation.

Jegg Bridges plays Andy. Yup, thats right. The dude. Andy becomes embarrassed by his sons stepfathers immense wealth. So Andy comes up a with a scheme to get his whole neighborhood to produce a porno movie.

Another movie that just fell through the cracks. There are a bunch of great actors and really fun dialogoue. I also think how sweet it is how much the neighborhood pulls together to help out the movie.

I bet people have compared it to "Zack and Miri Make A Porn" and I wouldn't blame them. I love both movies equally for separate reasons.

There's not much else to say about the movie other than its charming and sweet. Good one to watch.

Sunshine (2007)

This movie came to mind when i listened to the new linkin park song (which by the way, I absolutely hate. With every fiber of my soul). Linkin Park had a great song a year ago called "Leave Out All the Rest". The music video was a great tribute to the movie and the song was hauntingly beautiful.

"Sunshine" is science fiction movie. It's about fifty years in the future and the sun has gone out. A group of astronauts and engineers rig a trip to unite the pieces of the sun in order to reignite it. There is alot of drama and intensity aboard the spaceship as it travels with the piece of the sun. A lot of pressure is on the team to be successful in their mission. If they fail, the fate of earth is upon their shoulders.

They are also the second and final team to attempt this mission. The first team that attempted it disappeared. The second team have spent countless time and energy studying the mistakes of the first. The guy who holds the crucial button undergoes a beautiful visual demonstration. Lots of lasers and floating shiny diagrams. Chester of the linkin park does the same in the video.

On top of that, there is some sort of evil presence on the ship that seems to prevent the team from their success. This plants the seed of doubt and moral questions.

Science fiction novels, movies, or any other media are full of questions. I consider it a success when I'm still thinking about those questions days or years from when I've experienced it. Questions like, "what would happen if the sun burnt out? How much time would we have?" .

Now if that isn't enough, Cris Evans is in the movie. Sold.

It's a great movie. It pretty much fell between the cracks. Even though it's hard to find people to compare notes with, it just makes the movie more awesome. I guess I'm just one of those niche movies.

I also couldn't help thinking that I wouldn't be surprised if Doctor Who came in and saved everyone.

Friday, August 13, 2010

All About Eve (1950)

I'm in a fantastically horrible mood today after pulling my back and almost losing my phone. So I'm gonna write about a real bitch of a movie. Specifically, a movie of underhanded slyness of a bitch undercover.

"All About Eve" stars Bette Davis once again. Look, it's hard to just limit one review to Miss Davis. She has been in a ton of classic and memorable movies.

It's also fun to see her in a role where she yells at everyone and is just a plain diva. Sweet.

Bette Davis plays Margo, who is an aging theater diva (I hope I can age that beautifully).Anne Baxter is Eve, Margos number one fan and supposed sweet hopeful actress. Eve starts by befriending Margo with her naivety. Naive as in sweet, country girl full of wide eyed innocence naive. Margo believes her simple wish to become an actress and encourages it by introducing Eve to high profile circle of movers and shakers. From this break, Eve begins to manipulate and deceive everyone into getting the ultimate goal of being even more famous than Margo.Margo is so confident and full of herself that she doesn't even see it coming. When she does, it's already too late and on the fast track of obscurity.

For once, I did not like the heroine at all. I was cheering for the villainess! Bette Davis plays Margo with such a high and mighty attitude that I was tempted to grab the nearest arrow to shoot her ego down.I even admit to being pleased about Eves success in screwing people over for her own good. I mean she was damn good at it.

There have been so many movies about backstage antics between people. The drama, the fights, the tears. All to be in the spotlight. Brutal but so juicy to watch.

Hell, there are alot of snarky dialogue...

Margo : Nice speech, Eve. But I wouldn't worry too much about your heart. You can always put that award where your heart ought to be.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Anastasia (1997)

The last few work days have been really crazy so I've settled down to watch "Princess and the Frog", Disney s newest 2D animation movie. That started me thinking of one of my favorite animation movies, "Anastasia". I would rather watch that one but I can't seem to find it again!

Right off the start, this movie is not historically correct in any way shape or form. The story is based on the rumors that circulated after the tragic take down of the Romanov family in Russia. The rumor was that one of the youngest daughter of the family may have survived. She would have been the heir to the Russian throne.

I of all people know how insulting movie story adaptations of an exotic culture can be. Problems arise from omitting details or grossly making up deatils to make it relate to the general public. All for the sake of entertainment and moola.

Case in point: "The King and I". The only truth to that movie was that there is a king in Siam. I realllllly hate "The King and I." Then again I am part Thai.

So I bet a lot of Russians feel the same way about "Anastasia". I would just like to point out several things to this using "The King and I" as an example.

* The main lady of the "The King and I" is an outsider( and very boring). The main lady of "Anastasia" is an insider (and way cool).
* Anastasia is also a strong and personable character. I can beat up Anna (the heroine of "The King and I)
* Dimitri, the hero of the movie, is clever and also strong. The King in "The King and I" is portrayed as savage and stupid.

Point is : "Anastasia" is a wonderful story while the "King and I" plain sucks.

"Anastasia" also holds a special personal meaning since this is the first movie that I saw in theaters. The first one!!!So it was always be golden in my eyes. I remember being wowed when the opening title appeared minutes into the movie. I knew I was going to love this movie.

The story of the movie centers around our heroine, Anya. The Dowager Empress and her granddaughter,Anastasia are the only surviving members of the Romanov family. Unfortunately, they have become separated from one another for years.

We are introduced to Anya as she is leaving the orphanage where she grew with no memory of how she arrived. The only clue has is an ornate necklace with the words "Together in Paris". SO she optimistically heads for Paris. Problem? No exit visa.

Through hushed whispers, she is pointed to Dimitri. Dimitri is not only known for forging exit visas and other legal documents, he is also holding auditions for girls who would pass for "Anastasia" in order to gain the huge reward from the Dowager Empress.

They meet, they squabble, they fall in love. I love love stories where the hero and heroine argue. It's so much fun! You actually see the progression of them falling in love with each other.

This is a problem that I have with alot of big name animation movies. They skip the progression and head straight for the declaration. It makes the movie shorter thats for sure. But then I don't care about the love. It holds no weight, no special meaning. Romance is always important. Always.

I have to mention the villain, Rasputin. I love Anastasia and Dimitri is drreeaaamy (hey, we are all entitled to our cartoon crushs) but Rasputin was just awesome. For my young, impressionable mind he was equal parts funny and scary. To this day, he is one of my favorite villains. I still love singing along to "In the Dark of the Night" with goosebumps on my arms.

Whoever was in charge of casting the voice actors...good job!
John Cusack (sigh) is Dimitri (Sigh)
Meg Ryan (eh) is Anastasia (yay)
Christopher Lylod (Great Scotts!) is Rasputin (Whoo!)

(Update: I was not impressed by "Princess and The Frog")