I’ve written a review of ‘The Wolverine’ over at Hollywood.com. Check it out. Also go see ‘The Wolverine.’ It was a really fun film and is totally worth your time.
When Seeking a Friend for the End of the World came out, I missed it in theaters. This was a horrible decision. Then I read some of the reviews, which weren’t awful but weren’t great either, and I put off seeing it again. This was an even worse decision. Now, finally, I made time to sit down and watch it. This was a wonderful decision.
I started this movie thinking it was just a comedy about the end of the world, but it turned out to be so much more than that. Yes, the comedy element was there (and it was good comedy, too), but mainly it was the story of two people who were lost and trying to figure out what they wanted. The end of the film was tonally very different from the beginning, but I didn’t find it abrupt or jarring in any way. The story built up to its end in a way that made sense, and the longer I watched the more I loved it.
The thing I loved most about this film was the relationship between Steve Carell’s and Keira Knightley’s characters, Dodge and Penny. They were two people who were at completely different stages in their lives, but they were also in the exactly the same place. They were lost and unhappy, and with the imminent end of the world they were saddened by the lives they hadn’t lived. But in helping each other get to the people they wanted to see before a giant asteroid crashed into the Earth, the realized they were actually looking for each other. At first their age difference makes it seem like their relationship won’t go in a romantic direction, but when it finally gets there age is the last thing anyone is paying attention to. Dodge and Penny make such a lovely and hopelessly romantic couple that it would have been upsetting if they didn’t end up together.
As I said, the movie ends in a very different place from where it began, but that made the ending that much more powerful. It was no longer about the comedy of living an unfulfilled life; it was about the tragedy of it. There is a very fine line between the two, and this film moved from one side to the other in a wonderful and heartbreaking way. And yes, I cried.
Did Seeking a Friend for the End of the World have its flaws? Of course it did. But for her directorial debut Lorene Scafaria made a moving film, and for everything that didn’t go quite right, there was something else that went so well. This is the story of a couple we haven’t seen a million times set against an unexpected backdrop, and that makes it easy to ignore the less than perfect parts of the film. I can’t believe I waited so long to see it, and for anyone who has the same mindset I did, just give it a chance. It’s worth your time, I promise. Just remember to have a box of tissues handy.
Last night I did something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time now; I finally watched The Amazing Spider-Man.
I’m a little mad at myself for waiting so long to see it because it was fantastic. I laughed, I cried, I sighed at Andrew Garfield in that skintight suit. But one of my favorite moments came from Irrfan Khan.
Khan played Rajit Ratha, the henchman-like assistant of the unseen Norman Osborn. He also played the adult Pi Patel in Life of Pi. Apparently he’s attracted to roles in which he gets to mention the name “Richard Parker” numerous times. I don’t know about you, but I found this very amusing.
I saw Life of Pi in theaters, which is to say, before I saw Spider-Man. So when I saw Khan as a villain I thought, “Aw, but he was so adorable with his love for Richard Parker.” And then BAM! Evil villain Khan was talking about Richard Parker! Needless to say, I immediately rewound and watched the scene again. Laughter ensued.
This is why I love pop culture. Crossovers and references. Sometimes they’re intentional. Sometimes they’re not. But they’re always great to watch.
R2-D2 in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek. E.T. in The Phantom Menace. Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine for two seconds in X-Men: First Class. Joel David Moore’s character in Bones, intern Colin Fisher, camping out to get tickets to Avatar. All things regarding the Avengers.
The entertainment industry is about providing entertainment (shocking insight, I know), and crossovers are entertaining. They offer an opportunity for fans to connect over different titles and over our general love of pop culture. They also give us a chance to see who can dish out the most obscure references, because nerds can be competitive too.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to re-watch The Namesake, The Darjeeling Limited, Slumdog Millionaire, and New York, I Love You. I’m sure Khan says the name “Richard Parker” in there somewhere.
I enjoy collecting all kinds of things: movies, music, books, lipstick, photographs, buttons, you name it. Part of the fun of collecting these things is seeing them organized. If you don’t believe me, check out Things Organized Neatly. You can make just about anything look aesthetically pleasing if you organize it the right way. And I’d like to help you make your DVDs look good.
Your current collection of movies is probably a mess. Let’s fix that. Pull all of your DVDs off their shelf (or wherever you keep them), and lay them out on the floor. Now the floor is a mess, I know. But sometimes things need to get worse before they can get better. Let’s move on.
After you cover half your living room in DVDs, start making piles. All the A’s in a pile, all the B’s in a pile, all the . . . never mind, you get the point. Then arrange each pile alphabetically. The N’s in my collection, for instance, ended up being Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist followed by The Nightmare Before Christmas.
At this point I would like to address the categorization of sub-collections of movies. For example: the James Bond movies sitting on my floor in their own pile. If you have a sub-collection like this, find a letter that they would all fit under (Bond DVDs in the B pile) and a way to organize them within that section (chronologically). Thus, all of the Bond movies went between Blazing Saddles and Borat.
That’s it. The hard (or at least marginally thought-provoking) part is over. Now you just need to put all the piles back on the shelf in order. Not only will you have an organized collection of DVDs, but you will also have a much easier time finding the ones you want to watch.
There’s no rule that says you need to arrange your movies alphabetically. Actually, there are no rules at all about organizing your movies. I’m making this stuff up. So you can set them up however you want. By director. Chronologically. By level of sentimental value. Whatever you want.
Some of you are probably thinking that I should get a hobby or something. To you all I say that collecting is a hobby. You love movies too (or else you wouldn’t be reading this) and probably have your own collection, so I challenge you to organize it. See if you don’t feel great when you’re done.
Then come back here and tell me how right I was. Or don’t. I guess that part is optional.
It’s that time of year again: award season. This means many things. It means we get to be astounded by some of the red carpet fashion faux pas and feel slightly awkward when speeches get cut off by that pesky music. We get to praise the winners or fume over those who got snubbed. But more than anything, we get to once again feel sorry for Leonardo DiCaprio.
Sure, Leo’s won plenty of awards. He even won a Golden Globe in 2005 for his role in The Aviator. But he hasn’t won one before or since. And he’s never won an Academy Award.
In fact, he’s only been nominated for an Oscar three times (for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator, and Blood Diamond). You’d think one day he might try to take a page out of Dom Cobb’s book and plant the idea of winning in the Academy’s mind. At this point that seems like it might be his best chance to take home that little golden statue.
Don’t misunderstand me here. I think DiCaprio deserves an Oscar or three (or five). He should have at least been nominated for Shutter Island and Revolutionary Road. But he always gets passed over.
Sadly, that continues to be the case this year as well. DiCaprio was excellent in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained as Calvin Candie, the despicable slave owner we all love to hate. There was a glimmer of hope at the Golden Globes where he was nominated for best supporting actor. But the award went to his costar Christoph Waltz. Waltz was fantastic as well, but it still stung a little. And it hurt all that much more that DiCaprio was not nominated for an Academy Award.
Alas, we will have to wait for next year’s award season and hope that our Leo gets the recognition he deserves then. Baz Luhrmann’s remake of The Great Gatsby looks very promising. DiCaprio is also starring in Martin Scorsese’s new film The Wolf of Wall Street, set to be released sometime this year.
We will wait out the year in anticipation of the 2014 award season. We know that one day Leonardo DiCaprio will win that much sought after Academy Award. And until then, we will not let go of our hope. We’ll never let go.
BRRRM. BRRRM. BRRRM.
Cue the white van falling from the bridge in slow motion.
In case you live under a rock, the bit above is from Inception, and that BRRRM is one of the defining aspects of the soundtrack.
The soundtrack to Inception is one of the highlights of the film. It is visceral and in your face, and its impact is obvious. More often, however, soundtracks are subtle and sometimes go unnoticed. That doesn’t mean they’re any less important than the BRRRM.
For instance, I recently watched Beasts of the Southern Wild, and I was blown away by the soundtrack. That may be partly because I love bluegrass music, I’ll admit, but it was mostly because of how seamlessly it flows underneath the images in the film.
String instruments like the fiddle, the mandolin and the banjo keep the music grounded in the southern delta where the film is set. Often a soundtrack can feel forced or out of place, but the music in Beasts of the Southern Wild gives a sense of honesty to the emotions of the scenes. Even the shots of the aurochs (a cattle-like animal) seem realistic, which is impressive considering that they’ve been extinct since the 1600s.
Although the Beasts of the Southern Wild soundtrack never physically shakes your seat with its intensity, it is still strong music that helps carry the film. The script doesn’t need any help, but the music adds that little bit of extra truth anyway. It’s more of a lowercase brrrm, but it’s there nonetheless.