10 Movies in 3 Days

This week, Alli and I set out to see 10 movies during our time off. It was a fun experience and overall, most of the movies were good.

I thought that it would be fun if I gave you a quick personal review of each movie. I would list them chronologically, but that wouldn’t be any fun. So I’ll go from worst to best-ish.

Savages

Savages

This movie was crazy. Not particularly good, either. No one is going to be asking Taylor Kitsch to lead any more movies anytime soon. Or Blake Lively. Aaron Johnson is the only saving grace of this movie. My tweet might explain it best:

To Rome With Love

To Rome With Love

Anyone expecting something like last year’s charming Midnight in Paris will be sorely mistaken. (I was in that crowd.) Whereas Midnight in Paris was focused, To Rome With Love tells 5 different stories at the same time and none of them make any sense (including one where Woody Allen stages an opera with a man singing in the shower, literally).

Ted

Ted

A box-office hit for Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane, Ted is exactly as offensive as the hilarious red-band trailer suggested. It just wasn’t that funny. Sure, there were funny parts, but it’s an equal-opportunity offender. It really wastes the talent of Mila Kunis, too. I just wanted it to be funnier.

Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D

Katy Perry: Part of Me

This was the first movie that I thought could be classified as “good.” A pretty interesting concert film about a girl that is surprisingly a more talented musician than I thought. A much more impressive songwriter (despite the fact that I don’t particularly care for her music) who has plenty of her own issues to deal with (including the meltdown of her marriage to Russell Brand), but has managed to emerge as one of the most successful female artists…ever (5 number one songs from a single album).

People Like Us

People Like Us

Nice feel-good movie based on true events. But what the crap happened to Michelle Pfieffer?

The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man

It’s basically Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man movie, just done better in almost every way. Andrew Garfield is a much better Peter Parker than Tobey Maguire. Emma Stone is head-and-shoulders better than Kirsten Dunst. Aunt Mae and Uncle Ben are portrayed by Sally Field and Martin Sheen. Do I really need to name who played them in the first movie? The only thing that was really lacking in the reboot was a decent villain. Rhys Ifans’ Lizard just isn’t nearly as menacing as Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin. But besides that, it is a really entertaining reboot of the franchise. I hope they try to tell a different story in the next one, though.

(tie) Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Safety Not Guaranteed

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

I put these two together because it’s difficult for me to choose between these two terrific indie films. In fact, my top 4 of the 10 are all considered “independent” movies. Seeking a Friend is story about Dodge (Steve Carell) coming to grips with the end of the world and loneliness when he meets Keira Knightley’s Penny, who’s in pretty much the same situation. Their friendship develops as the world spins faster to its demise.

Safety Not Guaranteed

Safety Not Guaranteed was probably the movie I was most looking forward to. Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass and Jake Johnson all shine in this great little movie about wanting to go back and believing that the amazing can happen.

Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom

I don’t love everything that Wes Anderson makes, but he’s got a very specific style. In Moonrise Kingdom, he takes that quirky style and tells a really straight-forward, honest story about first loves. The adult actors (Bruce Willis, Ed Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and others) are all just fine, but the child actors are really great and earnest and they really are what make the story work.

Your Sister’s Sister

Your Sister's Sister

Without giving too much away about this story, you may have to just trust me on this. Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass and Rosmarie Dewitt deliver really powerful performances in this fresh story about a guy (Duplass) dealing with the death of his brother with the help of his best friend (Blunt). I really loved this movie. It was a toss-up between it and Moonrise Kingdom, but I had to make a call. Don’t expect to be fully satisfied with the resolution. Just enjoy the ride.

So that’s it. 10 movies in 3 days. We actually planned to see 11, but Lola Versus with Greta Gerwig was in a really limited run and we didn’t see it before it exited all theaters in the area.

Here’s what I found: independent movies intrigue me much more than anything else right now. Fresh, interesting, new stories just aren’t coming out of the major studios right now. Focus Features and other small studios are doing some great work to bring these stories to the screen, even if it is in smaller runs. Sure, the majority of these people are a mess, but that’s OK. In fact, that’s another blog post entirely.

Disclaimer: I saw all these movies for free because I work for AMC.

The 10 Movies I Plan to See This Week

One thing I absolutely love about my job is the free movies. I don’t have to be discriminating in my choices. I don’t have to toil over whether I actually want to see something or not. I just go see it and that’s it.

This week, I’m only working 1 1/2 days because of the holiday and some vacation, so I figured it was as good a time as any to get caught up on some movies. As I started to look at the list of stuff that was in the, “Yeah, I’ll see that…” category, it’s pretty long.

So here’s what I’m going to attempt to see before I come back to work next Monday:

UPDATE: just found out Woody Allen’s latest, To Rome With Love, arrives in KC tomorrow, so we’re adding that one too.

And I also plan to eat a lot. Should be an amazing vacation. It’s a good thing when the company you work for gives you something that you want to do on your vacation. Are there any movies I’m missing?

Trailer for ‘On The Road’

I read On the Road first when I was 21 and again when I was almost 30. I didn’t get it the first time. I sure as heck understood it the second time around.

The trailer gets extra props for using my favorite quote from the book:

But then they danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, made to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

Looks like a really interesting cast. Garrett Hedlund really impressed me in Country Strong and in my opinion, Kristen Stewart keeps getting better.

Source: AMC Movie News Tumblr:

Why The Muppets Should Win an Oscar

Consider this the beginning of my official letter-writing campaign to get at least one Oscar for The Muppets, one of my favorite movies of the year.

I looked forward to Jason Segel and James Bobin’s take on my favorite Jim Henson characters for a while and when it finally reached the screen, it was everything I’d hoped for and more. It had the feel of one of the classic Muppet movies and yet, it felt updated for today’s audience.

One of my favorite parts of the movie was the terrific soundtrack that was overseen by music supervisor, Bret McKenzie, aka Rhymenocerous, aka one half of Flight of the Conchords.

McKenzie was responsible for the opening number, “Life’s a Happy Song” and the pivotal “Man or Muppet” song:

My favorite musical moment of the movie, however, comes early on in the plot, when Gary and Walter are trying to convince Kermit to get the gang back together and put on a show. Kermit sings this very sweet, heartfelt tune in the hallway of his office called “Pictures in My Head,” written by Jeannie Lurie, Aris Archontis, and Chen Neeman (produced by McKenzie).

That song represents what I think a lot of people love about the Muppets. Sure they are nostalgic and a little corny, but they are also a beloved part of pop culture and American society. Jim Henson’s creations have always been a favorite of mine and I’m so glad that their movie delighted so many people this year.

My hope is that the Academy Awards this year will acknowledge the great songwriting of McKenzie and his team and at least nominate one song for an Oscar. I’d prefer if it was “Pictures in My Head”, but honestly, the whole soundtrack is great and I’d be happy with just one song being recognized. I truly can’t think of a reason why they shouldn’t be nominated. Randy Newman’s been nominated time and time again. Why can’t The Muppets?

Clever songwriting at pivotal times during the film…what are the actual requirements for a song to be nominated for “Best Song”? Whatever they are, I am unaware of any reason why The Muppets don’t qualify or are not deserving.

I encourage you to tweet #muppetsbestsongoscar if you agree with what I’m saying. Who knows? Maybe we’ll be able to inspire some voters online.

Cities as Living Things

I saw this video from Mindrelic (via Cameron) and I just fell in love with it.

Last week, Alli and I saw Woody Allen’s latest film, Midnight in Paris, and I adored it. It was one of those movies that just makes you smile the whole time. During the movie, there is a conversation between two of the characters where they talk about the life of a city that is independent of its inhabitants — that a city lives and breathes like an organism does.

Now, I’m no fan of Woody Allen’s, but this idea was something that I really remembered from the movie. I thoroughly enjoyed the film (by far my favorite of Allen’s 586 films he’s made) and if I took anything away from it, it was this idea that we much like the blood cells of the living organism that is the place that we inhabit…we have a structure and life all our own, but we contribute to the life of something larger.