Posts Tagged ‘movies’

Gran Torino

All I can say is…Sigh.

Boyfriend and I decided to catch Gran Torino on the big screen before it was phased out.  I don’t really know how long it’s been released, but we figured we ought to watch it, considering the buzz about how awesome Clint Eastwood’s acting and direction in the movie was.

We caught a 10:10pm screening of it.  As usual, I got a popcorn and soda.  Seriously, what is a movie without either?  I didn’t really know what to expect.  This was boyfriend’s pick of movies.  I usually steer clear of movies that deal with racial themes, or American movies that try to portray an Asian culture.  I just end up feeling uncomfortable because despite their attempt at making everything Politically correct.

It never really is when any movie, book, or article tries to tackle the realities of discrimination, stereotypes and the differences between all of us.

Anyway, back to Gran Torino.

Let’s just say I’m dissatisfied.  The acting was horrible.  I did not find Thao (portrayed by Bee Vang) believable at all.  His sister, Sue (portrayed by Ahney Her), was even worse.  Couldn’t they have done better casting?  Really?  The storyline was so good and strong…but the acting let it all down.  Even Clint Eastwood’s constant growling was getting on my nerves.  Really?  Do people really go around growling?

Overall, I learned a series of epithets for Asian people, and real men cuss each other up and down when talking to each other.  Great.  Awesome.

The ending did make up for the blah of the movie.  It was the only part of the movie I was satisfied with.  I actually did not see it coming, and I loved it.  I’m not going to spoil it, but if you can sit through the rest of the movie and it’s murky lessons, then you’ll see the underlying theme of salvation and peace.

I give it a C.

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Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Rise of the Lycans

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

I watched Underworld: Rise of the Lycans with my boyfriend tonight.  Despite the lackluster critical reviews, I really enjoyed the film.  I think it’s because I’ve always been fan of the entire franchise from the beginning.  I thought Rise of the Lycans was way, way better than Evolution.  I think it lends to the better cast.  And it rises up to the cult-like level of Underworld, the first movie.

I did sorely miss Kate Beckinsale as Selene, though.  I think she remains as one of my top favorite heroines of all time.  She was all dark and broody, but still somewhat idealistic and innately good.  She walked the line of being delicate and impossibly powerful with such grace and finesse, that even in the large story gaps of Evolution, you still wanted to believe her.

Rhona Mitra did a decent job as Sonja, the daughter of Viktor.  But I still think she didn’t pull of “defiant” quite as well as Kate Beckinsale did.  On the other hand, she filled in the role of hot, sexy, strong vampire warrior that Beckinsale left open in this segment of the series.

Michael Sheen made the small part of Lucien (and his utterly dismal death in the first movie) seem larger than life.  I believed his character.  He wasn’t so much as the most powerful Lycan ever, as he was portrayed in the first movie, rather than an inordinately good leader.  He is the kind of leader that starts off with great ideals, only to be corrupted by loss, grief, rage and the desire for revenge.

Finally, Bill Nighy…oh he is a GREAT ONE.  In almost every role he portrays, I have loved him.  I missed him greatly in the second installment of the series, and was extremely gratified in his role in this prequel.  Oh, Bill…he makes Viktor such a beautiful, complex character.  The heartless warlord.  The ruthless slave overlord.  The Vampire King.  The Devoted Father.  The stone-cold ruler who would stop at nothing to keep the status quo.  His performance was fabulous.  I especially loved two particular scenes.  One, right after he says, “aye” in voting to have Sonja, his only daughter, sentenced to death.  The deep grief on his face, the way his head lowers ever so slightly until his head is bent low, weighed down by the import of his choice–awesome!  The second scene is him, clutching almost desperately, to the bedpost of Sonja’s empty bed, right after he leaves her to her death.  He is holding the post so tight, leaning heavily against it like his whole world had collapsed and he just needed that support.  His eerily blue eyes glowed with unnatural grief.  I actually felt sorry for him–and he’s the bad guy in the movie.

The action scenes were fabulous.  Each time the create the new Underworld movie, the Lycan’s become more and more awesome.  The shapeshifting becomes more seamless, and the monsters look more savage.  I love it!

Finally, even if it isn’t Oscar-worthy material, it is extremely, extremely entertaining as a movie.  It’s not one that will leave you pondering about life and love and all sorts of heavy issues but rather, it leaves you with something fun to talk about over wine and discuss a storyline that is just so out of this world that it’s the Underworld.

I give it a solid B.

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On my way back from San Francisco to Los Angeles, my flight was delayed for about three hours. My family had dropped me off at the airport almost two hours before my original flight was scheduled. I was stuck at SFO for about five hours. Naturally, I bought the book I’ve been curious about since I saw a special about the rabid fans of the upcoming movie: Twilight.

Prior to that small news segment, the camera panning across hundreds of fans lining up for the Twilight premiere, I had never even known the book existed, much less that a movie had been made. Where have I been that I missed such a massive…um…movement?

Two probable reasons:

1. Law school: I have lived in a bubble where the only books that existed had titles like Evidence, Property, Constitutional Law…you get the gist…and when I wasn’t reading those books, I was desperately trying to spend the rest of my other time unreading.

2. I Grew Up: I used to ravenously read those little tweenie books written by LJ Smith, Christopher Pike, RL Stine…yada, yada, yada. If I were fifteen (or eighteen, sigh) again, I would have been all over a book like Twilight…and the subsequent books that make up the entire saga.

So, that fateful flight-delayed-rainy-San Francisco day at the airport, I finally caved and bought the book.

I read through the first half of the book in the airport, pausing only to take a short nap at the Gate A11, and had the itch to watch the film. I thought to myself: Wow, this is some ambitious stuff. The emotions, the tension, and the sheer confused passion of the characters were so ambitious that I was really curious how they could translate it onto the screen.

So, BF–being awesome as he is–took me to watch the movie in one of the handful of theaters that still show it. I told him it was a cool vampire movie. Which is about a third-true.

I walked out of the movie mildly disappointed, but even more eager to read the rest of the book.  Let me tell you why…


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I just watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  It was a superbly done film, and I really enjoyed it.  One thing I kept thinking throughout the movie was…how lonely his life must have been.  He went through life backwards.  He spent his childhood with old people, and I think he never really felt at home with any other kind of people.  Not that I’m about to go into a sad lament about his existence, but I think that his writing of postcards to Daisy, and later to his daughter Caroline, just made his life a lot less lonely.

Everyone just needs someone, I think.

I think everyone just needs to feel like their life matters to someone.  Everyone has a story to tell and I think it’s less lonely knowing that someone cares enough to want to listen to your story.  I think that the postcards and the diary just helped Benjamin’s life be less lonely, to know that to Daisy, he mattered–and later to Caroline, he would matter.

Despite the fact that the running theme of the movie was “Nothing ever lasts,” there was an underlying theme that at least ONE thing doesn’t end.  Yes, it is slightly cheesy if you think of it in a real-world context.  Love never ends.  I’ve been a lifelong romantic and I really wish that were true.  But like many things, it takes two.  I think that both people have to believe that the love doesn’t end for it to really be kept alive.

Anyway, just wanted to spit into words some of the emotions and thoughts the movie evoked.  I really, really loved the movie.  It’s a very unique glimpse into life, love and loss.  There is always loss in the movie (again, the theme is about letting go).  The most poignant is when letting go isn’t a choice, but a reality that must occur.  In the movie it was mainly death, but also that Benjamin walked away from Daisy and Caroline because it was what was best for them.


Love. Life. Loneliness. Loss.  Stupid L-words.

I think the movie dealt with it as gracefully as they can be dealt with.  I’m also very glad that they maintained the air of romanticism — otherwise, I would have been a very sad, depressed person.

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