Saturday, June 5, 2010

In Case Anyone is Unaware...

I am blogging for my IPP at a new website now, so for anyone who hasn't already, please update your bookmarks:


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I'm Running...

Run Lola Run, 1998, Germany

Twenty minutes is really not a long time. It often feels like forever to me, especially when I'm feeling anxious about something, but in the grand scheme of things, it's just a few grains of sand in the hourglass known as life.

Lola has twenty minutes to find 100,000 DM, and deliver it to her boyfriend in order to save his life. Twenty minutes to run to where he's located, get the money (somehow) and deliver it. Not a long time, huh?

The film is not a long one, at 81 minutes. But in that time, three different scenarios are played out, each lasting roughly 20 minutes. They sure managed to cram a lot of story in those 20 minutes. Before watching the movie, I was aware that it consisted of three different scenarios, and I was also aware that the film was parodied in an episode of The Simpsons called "Trilogy of Error". In fact, that may have been how I first heard of the movie. I'm vaguely recalling a conversation I had with my Dad way back when the episode first aired, where he told me that it was based on a movie called Run Lola Run.

The purpose of the three scenarios is to show how mere seconds impact events in the rest of your life. Minutes, seconds, can end a life or save a life. I haven't spent much time thinking about it, but I sure am now. Everyone has those days where they get a phone call they've been waiting for all day when they're in the washroom and can't take the call. In the film, one single event at the beginning of each scenario determined whether Lola was delayed by seconds, or faster by seconds, and those seconds matter.

I loved the movie. It was exciting, and made me feel...energized. I was familiar with Tom Tykwer from Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, but this is by far the better film. The edits, the soundtrack, the acting, and the story all fit together. Speaking of the was fantastic. I'm not sure I've ever heard a soundtrack quite like it, but I loved it!

I've got this song stuck in my head as a result of the movie:

In other news, I can't help but wonder what watching 200 movies will do to my figure. I do enjoy a snack while I'm watching a movie, and since I'll be watching roughly one a day, that's a lot of junk food! Perhaps I should make it a goal to adopt better snacking habits over the duration of my IPP?

Does anyone have any healthy snack recommendations? Remember: I am a pathetically bad cook.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Robert Downey Jr is the Only Man Cocky Enough to Play Iron Man"

My friend Tiffany said the above line. This means...I've just gotten home from Iron Man 2!

Iron Man 2, 2010, USA

Ultimately, I enjoyed it. It was a fun summer movie. But it wasn't as good as the first one was, which is not unexpected. To me, it felt like they tried to cram far too much story into too short a time. This meant that certain plot lines were neglected, or given a less than satisfactory conclusion. This is a common problem with sequels: they try too hard to live up the original, so they try to cram in every "cool" storyline possible, in order to impress the fans. It doesn't work! I think the movie would have been better if pieces were trimmed a little. Perhaps Scarlett Johanson's part, which felt like a bit of a waste to me. I thought Mickey Rourke was awesome, but very under-utilized. I wanted to see a lot more of his character.

Don Cheadle replaced Terrance Howard as James "Rhodey" Rhodes in the sequel. Cheadle did an adequate job, but I think the role belongs to Howard. He felt more convincing to me, and it's a shame that he was replaced. I know he has a reputation for being hard to work with, but he was just brilliant in the role.

And as Tiffany said...there's only one man who could play Iron Man, and that is the magnificent Robert Downey Jr. I never really noticed him until I saw Iron Man, but oh did I ever notice him after that movie. Since then, I've seen a few more of his movies (though not nearly enough of them), and I think he's got a real talent. Plus he oozes charisma.

Definitely go see the movie in theatres. It's so much fun, and enjoying an air conditioned theatre is a perfect way to spend a summer evening!

It's Funny how Fallin' Feels like Flyin' for a Little While

My Dad rented Crazy Heart last night, so I decided to give it a watch today. I’d wanted to see it in theatres, but I didn’t really have anyone to go with, and even if I did, I didn’t have any time to go. Two things in the movie stood out for me: Jeff Bridges, and the soundtrack.

I enjoy Jeff Bridges. It’s funny: I enjoy his work, and he has a very recognizable face, but I can never remember his name. While on my way to Chicago, we watched Iron Man on the bus, and I sat there, driving myself crazy trying to remember what his name was. I could list off a bunch of movies he’d been in (most notably, The Big Lebowski), but I couldn’t for the life of me, remember his name. I was thinking something like Jim Scott, but I knew that was wrong. Whenever I can’t remember something like that, it tends to reenter my head the moment I go off to look it up. That’s when I shout the name, or the fact, or whatever it is out in glee, confusing and scaring all those around me.

Unfortunately, I was on a bus and had no way of looking up his name. It was days before I remembered his name, and I may have actually found a way to look it up. I don’t remember, but I think I did scare someone when I remembered it and shouted it out. I can never seem to remember his name. I’m the same way with Holly Hunter.

So Jeff Bridges made the movie for me. Without him, it would have been a very simple, very straightforward story. His performance was layered, and he created a character that was at times heartbreaking and pathetic. It was a well deserved Oscar.

The soundtrack really impressed me as well. I’m generally not a big fan of country music, but Jeff Bridges and Colin Farrell were great singers, and really made it work. I can’t help but wonder if my Dad’ll buy the soundtrack – I hope he does so I can borrow it and put it on my iPod. My Dad likes Jeff Bridges, and the music in the film is probably the type that he enjoys. He has the soundtrack of O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and often listens to it in the car. I’ve heard it about a million times. I actually really like the soundtrack…but I’ve never seen the movie! I’m hoping to see it over the course of this project, but I wonder how strange it will be to see it for the first time, and be able to sing along to half the songs?

I’m going to be going out to see Iron Man 2 this evening, so I am hoping to write another entry when I get home about that movie as well! It has been a movie I’ve been looking forward to since the sequel was announced.

This song was my favourite off the soundtrack, at least after a single viewing of the film:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

And so I Begin

Casablanca - 1944, USA

Recommended by: Amanda and Desiree

A couple people have asked what my first movie would be for this project of mine. I always sort of assumed it would be Requiem for a Dream, since it is the first movie I put on my list.

But as I sat here at my computer last night, I felt restless, and felt like I needed to start on this project of mine. And I felt like watching Casablanca. I wanted to watch a love story, and more importantly, I wanted to watch a tragic love story. Ultimately, this was a movie about sacrifice. Rick loved Ilsa. Ilsa loved Rick. Maybe they would have been happy together…maybe they wouldn’t have. But they’ll never get a chance to find out, because both of them made sacrifices that were, perhaps, for the best. In Paris, Ilsa didn’t leave with Rick because she received word that her husband, Victor was alive and hiding in Paris. At the end, Rick refused to leave with Ilsa because he told her, in the iconic line, that she would regret it if she stayed, "maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life." And Victor sacrificed too. He begged Rick to take Ilsa to America because he loved her so much, he just wanted her to be safe, even if she was with another man.

During my first year of University, I wrote a paper on film censorship for my Academic Writing class. I focused on the Hays Code, which set the “moral” standards that films had to maintain. This code was in effect until 1968, when the MPAA rating system was put into effect. One of the principles stated that “the sanctity of marriage and the home had to be upheld”. So, according to this code, Ilsa could never end up with Rick. I must wonder: would the ending change today? I hope not. I love the tragedy of it, and the sacrifice involved from all parties. Plus she married Victor before she met Rick, so surely she must love him?

I read in the Wikipedia article that the film was colourized in the 80’s. What a crime. When I was watching the movie, my Mom teased me, and remarked that I needed to “adjust the TV” because it wasn’t in colour. But while I was watching the movie, I found myself admiring the cinematography, and the striking contrast between the black and the white. It was gorgeous. There are screenshots from the colourized version on Wikipedia, and it takes away so much, in my opinion.

So why hadn’t I seen it before? I’ve seen very few “classic” films. An ongoing theme of this project will be me rectifying all of my “cinematic embarrassments”. I’ve seen a good number of films from about 2003 onwards, but there are many important and respected movies from before that time that I’ve just never seen. Part of it is the fact that I love going to the theatre, and often, if I don’t see a movie in the theatre, it’s months or even years before I catch it. I love the experience of sitting in a dark theatre, watching a movie on a big screen, and experiencing it with a group of people. Last year, I saw something like 50 movies in the theatre. This year, I haven’t gone nearly that often. I probably won’t go all that often, but I fully intend on seeing a few movies at the theatre. I will just need to prioritize them.

So movie number 1 is down. 199 more to go. I’m feeling pumped, and ready to watch more!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Doing the Tourist Thing in Chicago

I thought I'd devote this entry to the day I went to the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower).

That morning we arrived at the Art Institute in the rain. I'd been really looking forward to visiting it, because I've only ever been to the Winnipeg Art Gallery, which is great, but much smaller. I'm far from an art expert, but I enjoy looking at it, and admiring the talent involved in creating an art piece. I also find the creativity fascinating. Many of the art pieces were very simple - I could have made them, but it was so interesting to see what one considers art. My favourite art style is impressionism, so it was wonderful to go through that section of the museum. Unfortunately, I could not spend as much time there as I'd have liked, because it was nearing lunch time, and I was starving. My favourites were the Van Gogh pieces, because he's my favourite painter. I completely fell in love with Monet while I was there - I wasn't familiar with his work, but the Art Institute had a lot of it, and I loved it!

I also enjoyed looking at all of the artifacts on display. Yes, in their time they were nothing more than everyday objects, but to us they're fascinating. I'm also a bit of a history nerd, so I always get a kick out of artifacts. I loved thinking about what modern objects would be placed in a museum 400 years from now. Perhaps an iPod would be placed behind glass? That begs a question: would Steve Jobs be named as the "artist"?

After lunch, we decided to visit the Willis Tower. The weather had cleared up, and it was warm and sunny, so we thought it'd be perfect for taking pictures. We got on an elevator after watching a movie about the tower, and taking photos with the wall paintings of Michael Jordan, Oprah and Barack Obama. It was a 60 second elevator ride to the 103rd floor, and our ears popped the whole way.

I'm generally pretty good with heights. I'm okay with tall buildings, and being up high - even looking down from the window in a tall building. Therefore, I was completely okay on the Skydeck. My tolerance was severely tested by the glass balconies. I got brave enough to stand in one, but feeling the wind shake beneath me, and seeing all the way down shook me up a bit. I stayed there long enough for a few photos, and got right out of there. My friend Amanda is much braver than I, and actually lay face down in the box when she visited the tower!

Brietta and I were able to sit down in the glass balcony.

The view was absolutely gorgeous. We really lucked out, because we picked the perfect day to go up. Here are some of the photos I took:

Of course, as a film fan, I got a real kick out of this wall of the Skydeck.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Movies in Chicago

I came home from my trip last night. This will be the first of what will probably be several blog entries about the trip, since I just can't get it all in one entry! I thought I'd talk about my movie experiences while on the trip.

I had decided to bring my portable DVD player, and a number of movies on the off chance anyone wanted to watch a movie on the bus or in the hotel room. It turns out there were TVs and a DVD player on the bus, so we watched a whole bunch of movies on the way there and back. I like to think I did a pretty decent job picking out what movies to bring. I brought: Shaun of the Dead, Serenity, The Shawshank Redemption, Anchorman, V for Vendetta, Iron Man, and Monsters, Inc. We ended up watching all of them except for V for Vendetta. If you're planning a trip and bringing DVDs, bring a variety, so there is something for everyone. For the most part, I kept it to pretty light-hearted movies. And of course, ones without subtitles, which are difficult to read on any small screen.

I'd decided to go see Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back with Jason and Kenton as well. I wanted to see it on the "big screen", since I'd only ever seen it on VHS. Actually, I think I'd only seen it twice in its entirety, when I was about ten years old. Back then, I had a huge crush on Luke Skywalker, and watched it those two times over the weekend we'd rented it. I thought it'd be a pretty neat experience to watch it in a theatre, and it was! The picture and sound were amazing.

Kenton looks giddy as can be!

I thought it was awesome to compare the thoughts I'd had as a child with my thoughts now. Back then, the Luke stuff was obviously my favourite, but now, I found the Yoda/Luke stuff to be a little dull. The stuff with Han Solo, Leia, and the rest was much more interesting. I also didn't catch a lot of the humour within the movie as a child. Kenton mentioned at one point that he thought that Han was really the hero of Episode V, and I'd never thought about it like that before. But I do agree with him: Luke is off doing his own thing for much of the movie, so Han steps it up and becomes the hero.

We saw the movie at the Field Museum. I only had about an hour to look around the museum before the movie started, so I only got to see the lobby, and the Egypt exhibit. The museum looked amazing, and I definitely want to return someday to see the rest.

I also went on a mob tour Thursday morning. One of the locations our tour guide took us to was the Biograph theatre, which was the location of John Dillinger's death. Last year, Dillinger's story was told in the film Public Enemies, starring Johnny Depp. I could only get a photo from the bus I'm afraid, but it was still pretty neat to see.

We agreed to meet at the theatre, right, Mr. Depp?

One of the tour guides looked and sounded like David Morse.

I'm not sure if I saw any movies actually being filmed, but I saw shooting locations from The Dark Knight, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Public Enemies and The Untouchables.

Keep reading for more Chicago experiences!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I am off to Chicago!

Bright and early tomorrow morning, I will be boarding a bus headed to Chicago, along with my fellow CreComm students. I'm really looking forward to the trip. However, I will not be bringing my lap top with me, and my access to a computer will likely be limited. This means that for at least 6 days, I will be unable to update my blog. I will try to get an entry in as soon as possible after I return.

I've never been to Chicago, nor have I ever gone on a trip without my family, so this will be a trip full of firsts for me!

And here is the final scene from my favourite set-in-Chicago television show: ER:

ER was a great show. I didn't start watching it regularly until about three years before it ended, but that didn't matter. I really got into it. I've been watching the early seasons on DVD, but I'm pretty bad at watching TV on DVD, so I'm near the end of season four right now, and have been for about a year now. I have season five here at home, but I don't see myself getting to it until next summer, because of my IPP. I enjoyed the later seasons, but they're nothing compared to the early episodes.

On the last day we're there, I will be taking in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back. I've never seen it in theatres, so it will be interesting to watch on the big screen. Plus, it has been a few years since I've seen it in its entirety. Sure, I've caught bits and pieces on TV, but it's been awhile since I've sat down and watched the whole thing.

I'll see you all when I get back!

Friday, April 30, 2010

An Overactive Imagination

I think I watched too much Matilda as a child. I loved the movie. I recall it being one of the ones I'd rent over and over again. I haven't watched it in full in a number of years, and wouldn't mind revisiting it one day.

Anyways, in the movie, the title character, Matilda, develops telekinetic powers to combat her mean parents and evil principal. I have a strange irrational fear that stems from my painfully overactive imagination: I am afraid that anything I imagine or think about will come true. I also immediately envision anything anyone tells me. I often get myself very worked up after I have nightmares involving something happening to someone I care about.

But in many ways, this overactive imagination of mine is a good thing. I tend to live in the clouds a little bit. I've always been like that. When I was 13, and really starting to get into movies, I fantasized about being "discovered", and becoming a famous Hollywood actress. I would star in the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel as Johnny Depp's sidekick. Depp would take me under his wing, and I'd spend vacations in France going to the beach with him and his family. I'd win an Oscar for my amazing performance, and I'd tearfully thank Depp for being my role model and my inspiration. I even had the entire plot line for the sequel plotted out. In my version, Mel Gibson played Bootstrap Bill. This was before his anti-semitic rant. As you all notice, I say nothing about a romantic relationship with Mr. Depp. I never really fantasized about that. Again, due to my overactive imagination, I thought that if I fantasized about that, something would happen between him and Vanessa Paradis, and he seemed like a pretty happy guy to me. I was perfectly happy being his sidekick.

As you all know, the sequels came and went. I did not star in them. I didn't even cameo in them. So...if my imagination is so powerful...why am I not in France right now drinking expensive wine with Johnny Depp?

Monday, April 26, 2010


I watched Downfall this afternoon. It is a German film about the last days of Hitler and the Third Reich. I'd been wanting to watch the movie for a number of years, and when I saw that it was on TV last night, I decided to tape it. I figured taping it was best, since it was three and a half hours on TV, and I just don't have that great an attention span. Since the movie was subtitled, paying attention was necessary.

Despite having it on tape, where I could fast forward through commercials, I still had difficulty paying attention. It's not because I disliked the film (in fact, I loved it!), but it was because of the subject matter. I'm a huge history nerd. In University, I took a number of European history courses, primarily because I love World War II history. I find it fascinating. The film uses actual footage from an interview with Traudl Junge, one of Hitler's secretaries, and a main character in the film. Of course, I had to look her up. I read a number of Wikipedia pages pertaining to historical figures from the film, and events that occurred within the film.

I was watching the movie upstairs, so I had to pause the movie and get my lap top when I realized that I just had to read about Bruno Ganz, who plays Hitler in the movie. Then I realized that reading Wikipedia while watching a subtitled movie just didn't work well. So I kept having to pause the movie. That's alright, because I learned a lot from Wikipedia, and I had nothing else to do this afternoon anyway, so I could take my time watching the movie.

Yes, the movie was a long one, but it didn't feel long. As I've emphasized, the subject matter is fascinating to me, and it is presented well. The acting is fantastic. I'd actually been reading about the film a few days before during a spare moment at school, so I'm really glad it was on TV this weekend. I'd actually planned on adding it to my list of 200 movies to watch, but I'm just as happy to have gotten the opportunity to watch it earlier. The only issue I had was with the number of characters. I had trouble keeping track of the names of most of them, so I had to identify them by their faces and actions. But that wasn't a big deal at all.

If you haven't seen Downfall yet, check it out. It's excellent.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Summertime in the Theatre

Okay, so it's not quite summer yet, but it sure feels like it. On Friday night, I met up with some friends to go see Kick-Ass. It was fairly quiet in the theatre, which was surprising, since I thought it'd be packed.

This semester, I haven't gone to see many movies. I've missed it. It was strange entering Silvercity Polo Park for the first time in at least three months. For one, I noticed that they'd raised the prices since I'd last been there. Secondly, they got rid of New York Fries, and replaced it with Pizza Pizza, and some other chain I'd never heard of. I wasn't impressed. I generally got a poutine and a drink, especially when I went to movies around dinner time. My joke was that without my weekly business, New York Fries went under. I'll need to make a note to see more movies.

Kick-Ass was an alright movie. It was quite hilarious at times, and often very shocking and disturbing. Chloe Moretz, who played Hit-Girl, really stole the show. Hard to believe she's only 13 years old with that kind of talent. She looks very young, however. I wouldn't have put her older than 10 or 11 in the movie.

I feel very out of the loop when it comes to the movies being released. I don't really know what's coming out this summer. I've been so busy that I haven't really had the time to keep on top of it. But now that school is over, I'll be able to really follow that, and hopefully I'll get out to see more movies!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Music Videos

After posting my montage, I've found myself thinking about music videos lately. I'm not a big music person (lack of musical education, I don't know what's "good"), but I do often find myself opening up YouTube in search of a song or two to play while I do my homework. Sometimes I end up watching the music videos.

Music videos are like a little movie. They often tell a story, related to the "story" within a song. These are the ones I like the best. My favourite songs are sad songs, so adding sad imagery that follows the story of the song is very moving to me. While studying today, I started playing my current favourite song "Sometime Around Midnight" by the Airborne Toxic Event. This song has two music videos: the older one directed by Jason Wishnow. The second one was filmed after the song gained popularity, and was directed by D.J. Caruso. He's known for directing the movies Disturbia and Eagle Eye.

I just had a very bizarre experience. I'd planned to write about how the first video is miles above the second one, in terms of emotion and power, but I watched both videos...and the first one didn't quite move me. Sure, I felt something, but there were no tears. I watched the second one, and it moved me much more than the first. Maybe it's because I've played the song about six times in a row by now. Or maybe it's because of the awesome story behind the song. Video #1 tells the story of the song. Video #2 tells the story of how the song was written.

Since I have a tendency to write when I am hurting - poetry, fiction, diary entries, et cetera, maybe video #2 resonates with me more now that I'm not "living" the song in a way I once was. Here's both of them:

Video #1:

Which one do you prefer? Which one do you feel best captures the "tone" of the song. I still think I prefer the first video.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I've Made my First Film

Well, montage to be exact about it. For TV class, we were given an assignment to shoot and edit a montage set to music. I picked music from my favourite movie, Edward Scissorhands, "Ice Dance" by composer Danny Elfman.

I had it easy because from the moment I'd heard about the project, I'd decided that was the music I was going to use. I was going to shoot it in the Winter, and there was going to be a scene of the "lovers" dancing in the snow. Now, when I shot my footage, the snow was melting, but I still got my little dance bit in at the climax of the music. I have to give my most sincere thanks to my amazing actors, Tammy, and her husband, Murray. They really made it great.

I recognize that I am not strong at shooting or editing. It's because I'm not a particularly visual person. I like to think that I am a pretty good writer; give me a keyboard or a pen and paper, and I'll write and write, but if I have to make an image look clear, focused and "artistic", then I struggle. I've accepted that I'll never be a great visual artist, and that I will always have to work harder at InDesign/Photoshop and Final Cut Pro than others may have to. Doing this montage was very difficult for me. It doesn't help that I am also not great at mastering programs like Final Cut Pro. But ultimately, I did the best I could, and I am really proud of my work.

I think I'll leave the filmmaking to the masters, like Tim Burton. As a child, I always wished I was able to draw, or do anything similar, but as an adult, I am so proud of my writing ability, and wouldn't trade it for anything.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Like Superhero Movies

And I'm proud to admit it. One of my most anticipated movies of the year is Iron Man 2. I saw Iron Man in theatres opening weekend, and immediately wanted to watch it again. I saw it twice in theatres. Later that summer, The Dark Knight came out in theatres, and it was the best superhero movie I'd ever seen. It was dark, depressing, and the final monologue had me in tears. As the lights came up, and my cousin and brother saw me weeping, they both shouted "You're crying?!", and a number of people turned around to watch me sob into my napkins. It was embarrassing. But that was in Calgary, so no harm done.

The Dark Knight was an exception to my general belief that superhero films are a sort of escapism. You sit back, don't think about realism, and watch the good guys beat the bad guys. They're fun. Generally, I trust that when I am watching a superhero movie, I'll leave the theatre all "pumped up" with a smile on my face.

I remember when Spider-Man came out. I never watched the cartoons growing up, since I thought they were "dumb" and "boring", so my Dad had to drag me to the movie. "You'll like it!", he said. I watched it, and had a good time with it...but I couldn't ADMIT that I liked it! So it was a few years before I could admit to myself that I enjoyed the superhero genre. This was after buying the first two X-Men movies on DVD (I told myself it was just because I liked Hugh Jackman). But when you start watching all of them in theatres, even the really bad ones, it's time to admit you have a problem.

But it's not really a problem, because superhero movies are lots of fun. I like to fantasize about a world where I'd have some sort of neat super power. Yes, people who have powers are always persecuted it seems, but that's because society is afraid of people who are different, and are afraid of people with cooler powers than them. I'd love to be able to fly or teleport, or shape shift.

But even if I couldn't have special powers, I'd settle for a really awesome suit made of metal.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Aggie was kind enough to lend me her copy of Kids, and I got around to watching it last night. I was particularly curious about it, because I recall a friend on a forum I post at writing about their hatred for this movie. I'd looked it up back then and it sounded interesting to me.

As I watched it, I braced myself for something tragic and depressing. And on one had, I did get that. The movie is shot documentary-style, and looks at the lives of the characters over the course of a single day in New York. The characters are all young teenagers, 15, 16, even 13 years old. They experiment with drugs, talk frankly about sex, and drink, among other things. I often have a difficult time relating to films where the young characters are so out of control. My teenage years were very different. They were by no means easy years (in fact, they were probably the hardest of my short life), but I never drank or did drugs or behaved the way these characters did in the film. So I wonder just how accurate the picture painted was. Do teenagers really act like this? Maybe because I was so innocent in that way, it just felt very over the top to me.

One issue I did have with the film is the fact that I couldn't feel anything for any of the characters. It was very sad and shocking subject matter, but I didn't feel emotionally attached to a single character. It was very strange to watch a film so tragic, but feel nothing. At the end of it, I thought the feeling was similar to watching a car accident: you know it's terrible, but sometimes you have a hard time feeling anything, especially if you don't see anyone who is injured. But at the same time, you can't look away.

I thought it was an interesting film, though. I did like the documentary-style of it, and I like that it portrayed a single day in the life of all of the characters. Thanks Aggie!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I Collect Things

I like to collect things. I chalk it up to being a naturally sentimental person, and many of the things I collect have strong memories attached to them. I took some pictures of the things I collect, and thought I'd share them.

Beanie Babies
(my shelf is so big, I had to do it in two photos!)

I haven't added to this collection in a number of years, but I like to keep them on display. As a child, I spent about six years collecting Beanie Babies with the help of my Mom. She'd go out and buy a bunch of them whenever new ones came out, and I'd pay her back or she'd give them to me as gifts. I'm not sure which, if any are worth anything anymore, but I don't know if I'd sell them anyway. They are such a big part of my childhood, so there's that nostalgia value to them.

Ticket Stubs

These are just a few of the ticket stubs I have. I keep them all in a photo album, mostly because I don't have anywhere better to keep them. The album is getting full though, so I'll need to buy another soon. I started collecting them when I was first because I was too lazy to throw out my stubs, but then I realized I was getting a sizable collection, and decided to stick with it. Since then, I've saved almost every stub, from movies, concerts, sporting events, plays, etc. Usually I'll group them together in no particular order, but the really "special" ones, from events I want to remember get their own sleeve, along with any other stubs that I feel are relevant.


Some of those are video games, but most of them are my DVDs. I remember receiving my very first DVD on my 14th birthday: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Since then, I've built up a collection of about 120 DVDs - mostly movies, but there is also some TV on DVD in there. I used to buy a movie or two a month, but since CreComm that habit has stopped.


Most of these are mine, but a few belong to my Dad. These are only a few of the books I own: I have many more up in my room. In fact, this shelf used to be for my Dad's books, but I've since taken it over. I started buying books after I graduated high school, since I found that I no longer had easy access to books. Yes, there's a library near my house, but I've found that I really like owning books. It feels good to go into a book store, spend two hours looking around, and drop $150 on a bunch of different books. But I don't do that anymore, again, because of CreComm. I don't really have time to read, so I've got a bunch of unread books sitting in my room.

What do you collect? Post pictures!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

Y'know, those movies you know you shouldn't love, but love anyway. The ones you feel you have to "make excuses for". I've got a couple of them, and I'm not going to feel guilty about them! I'm here to confess some of my favourite "guilty pleasures".

Van Helsing

I don't like Stephen Sommers as a director. I haven't liked anything else he's done, but I adored Van Helsing. I saw it in theatres when I was 14, and just starting to get into posting on forums online. I remember proudly proclaiming my love for the movie, and having a well respected poster respond with something like "well, you like what you like. We all have different tastes." Hey, at least I wasn't flamed, right?

I love this movie so much, I bought the "Ultimate Edition" of the DVD. It came with a bunch of extra features, and some of the classic monster movies the film is based on (I haven't watched the other movies yet! I will though!). I still watch it at least once a year. I justify my love for it because it's just such a fun popcorn movie, plus Hugh Jackman and David Wenham seem to have a lot of fun with it. I was always disappointed they never did a sequel to it.

Happy Gilmore

This is one of the movies I have to watch anytime I see it on TV. Adam Sandler is not great, but he does have his bright moments, and this is one of them (Punch-Drunk Love and 50 First Dates are other bright moments). The premise is just so...ridiculous but it works for me. A wannabe hockey player realizing he can play golf? It just works. Plus any movie with a Bob Barker cameo has to be fun.

When I was 16 and in Drama class in high school, I performed the opening monologue from this movie for my final monologue (equivalent to a final exam). I think I walked onstage with a little hockey stick, and pretended to skate around while I did the monologue. Surprisingly, I got a good grade on it.

The Astronaut's Wife

I fully recognize that this is not a great movie. It's not even a "fun" movie. I watched this movie a few years ago, because I really love Johnny Depp, and was curious about it. I was fully aware of how bad it was supposed to be, but justified it by thinking that at the very least, there'd be a bit of eye candy. Yes, it's far from Depp's best performance. The script is terrible. But I still really enjoyed it, and will catch bits of it on the odd time it is on TV.

I'm not sure how widely seen this movie even is. Has anyone else seen it? It's not one I recommend to people, but I am curious about how many people have seen it.


Okay, so I confessed. Now it's your turn. What are some of your "guilty pleasures"?

Friday, April 2, 2010

"Yes, Yes...I'll Get to it One Day..."

This will be an entry full of confessions.

Confession #1: Before today, I had never seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

But I did watch it tonight, and I enjoyed it! I was in the mood for something light and fun, and I sat there the whole time with a big smile on my face. It was a really fun movie, and it has gotten me excited about the Chicago trip next month. I tend to have a bit of a preoccupation with tragic or serious films, so I've missed a lot of the more light-hearted films out there.

When it finished, it left me wondering..."why had I waited 20 years to watch this movie?"

This brings me to confession #2: This is the first John Hughes film I've seen.

I was going through his filmography just now, and I have seen a few that he'd produced and written, but none that he'd directed. I fully realize just how shameful this is. I never watched them as a kid. I saw a lot of movies in the theatre as a kid, and only seemed to want to watch "new" movies when we went to the video store. So as a result, I missed out on a lot of the classics. Even now, I tend to go to the theatre a whole lot, except I haven't been in several weeks. This is probably the longest I've ever gone without seeing a movie in the theatre.

But I've been wanting to check out several of John Hughes' films for a long time. I remember being 15 years old, and sitting in drama class with several of my classmates, who were all talking about The Breakfast Club. We were beginning to write the skit we'd perform on our drama night, and my classmates wanted to include references to it. Since I'd never seen it, I was rather quiet during that time (which was not hard for me, since I was known as the "shy, goody-goody girl" in that class). Even at 15, I knew it was terrible that I hadn't seen it. So why have I gone another five years without seeing it? My only explanation is that there have been so many movies I've wanted to see, that it just got put on the back burner, along with many others.

Another very notable one I haven't seen is The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I just remembered this, because in the climax of that skit, we dance to The Time Warp. Yes, there is a tape somewhere of me dancing. I hope it never gets out, because it would be painful to watch. For this one, the timing has never seemed right. I guess it is a movie I'd want to watch with a group of people, or at least one other person, anyway.

So I guess this is where I ask: does anyone want to watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show with me?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

IPP: Accepted (aka: The Future of this Blog)

In the Creative Communications program, the Independent Professional Project (IPP) is a year-long project done during the second year. In November, I had an epiphany of sorts, and decided that I just had to watch 200 films for my IPP. After all, film is a huge passion of mine, and I've always wanted a reason to watch a huge amount of movies. This way, I won't be able to say "oh, I've been wanting to see it, I'll add it to the list of movies to watch one day."

I've decided to blog about my experience watching 200 films in roughly 8 months. That comes out to about a movie a day. Pretty intense, huh? I'll be reviewing the movies, talking about how this project affects my life, and tell stories about how I became the film fan I am today.

I'm really looking forward to doing this project, and would like to thank my current readers for their support. When I begin this project, I'd also like to ask that you send my blog link to anyone you think would be interested in this project. Spread the word! And if you would like to have any control over the films I watch, comment with a recommendation or two. I am beginning to compile the list of films I will be watching, so I would love to get as many recommendations as possible.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Julie & Julia

I finally got around to checking out Julie & Julia tonight. I'd done a lot of reading about the film, and Julie Powell's "story", but I hadn't actually seen it, and thought that should be remedied.

Julie & Julia is the story of two women: Julie Powell, who cooked all of the recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and Julia Child, the woman who wrote the cookbook. Julie Powell kept a blog of her experience, which eventually became a book, which eventually became a movie!

I was in the mood for something uplifting and happy, and I chose the perfect movie to watch. By the end of it, I was in such a good mood (it helped that I was already feeling great when I put it in), and felt like I could do anything in the world. It was inspiring.

It did make me wish I knew how to cook. The food shown in the film looked so delicious, and I found myself mourning my lack of cooking ability. As a kid, I actually wanted to be a chef, but I quickly realized that I was not cut out for it for a variety of reasons. I'm far too clumsy, and the fact that I'm STILL afraid of touching raw meat really disqualifies me from the profession. At this point, I'd just like to be able to cook delicious food for the people I care about, and be able to enjoy doing it. Right now all I'm able to do is cook sub-par food for myself.

I admired both Julia Child and Julie Powell. The film portrayed them as two strong women who were determined to reach their goals. That's something I respect a lot. They both had great husbands standing by their side as well. I enjoy it when Hollywood gives us strong female protagonists. I also enjoy it when husbands/boyfriends/life partners are not portrayed as jerks or obstacles, but as real, kind people who are supportive of their loved one. I wouldn't categorize this film as a romance, but the love shared between these women and their partners sure felt romantic to me, and definitely put a huge smile on my face.

This film gave me yet another reminder of Meryl Streep's amazing talent. I'm convinced she can play any character on this planet convincingly. She was great, and deserved the Oscar nomination she received for the role. And just as a note: if you haven't seen Kramer vs. Kramer, do check it out. She was amazing in it, and won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Joanna Kramer.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

This Week's Lost

As always, spoilers will be in this entry.

This is the episode we've been waiting seasons for. Richard's episode. Since the "ageless" man was introduced, I've been waiting and waiting to find out his story. Why doesn't he age? Where did he come from? Who does he work for?

Turns out, like many of the Losties, Richard's story is a tragic one. He lost his wife, Isabella, after accidentally killing the doctor he'd gone to for help. The day of his execution, he speaks to a very creepy (and unsympathetic) priest, who tells him that he will be going to hell. However, Richard is sold into slavery, and is bound in chains on the Black Rock.

I'd figured Richard came to the island on the Black Rock after the Man in Black mentioned that he'd still be in chains if not for his help a few episodes back.

After being freed from the chains, the Man in Black tells Richard to kill Jacob, in order to escape "hell". Jacob easily overpowers Richard, and explains that he is NOT dead, and that the Man in Black is the evil one, not him. From my understanding, the island is essentially a prison for the Man in Black. Should he leave the island, it'd be as if pure evil were entering into the rest of the world. Jacob used a wine+bottle+cork metaphor that I liked quite a bit.

Again, here's my understanding of it. The Man in Black was the wine, Jacob was the cork, and the bottle was the island. The Man in Black can't leave the island because of Jacob. Later we see the Man in Black with the bottle. He can't get the cork off. So he smashes the bottle. I took this as a metaphor for destroying the island. Perhaps this is a sign that the Man in Black's true intentions are not just escaping the island as he says, but destroying it?

I also enjoyed finding out why Jacob brings people to the island. He does it to prove that people can do good things without guidance, even if they've done horrible things in their "past lives". The island is a clean slate for them. Jacob is essentially implying that he is something of a God figure for the island, because he brings people to the island, and watches what they do, but without interfering. Clearly he exerts some level of control over their pre-island lives as well, because he has to get them to the island in the first place.

My favourite part of the episode was when Hurley was telling Richard that Isabella was standing right beside him, and he passed her messages along to him. It was very touching. One of the things I've always loved about Lost is the ability it has to make the viewers actually feel something. It's impossible not to get invested in the characters, because it's such a character oriented show.

I also liked that Richard had essentially given up on Jacob, and was turning himself over to the Man in Black when Isabella came to him with the help of Hurley. And it gave the audience confirmation, in many ways, that the Man in Black is the "evil" one. Is Jacob completely "clean" and pure? I don't think so. But I do think that the Man in Black is the villain he's been set up to be. I must say, I would kind of like them to give him a name. But what do you name a character of his magnitude? He's got this almost legendary build up, that any name would seem kind of strange. Maybe it's best they keep it a mystery? Who knows?

Let's get some discussion going. What did you all think of the episode?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Movies I Need to "Revisit"

I've been a film fan for a number of years now. But in this time, there have been a few movies I've watched before I was really old enough to get anything out of them. As a result, I didn't relate to the characters, or the story, and found myself bored with the movie. But since a few years have gone by, and I've grown up a lot in that time, I often feel like I should revisit the movies I once wrote off as being terrible.

The main one I talk about revisiting is Lost in Translation. I saw this when I was 14 years old. At the time, I'd never experienced the deep loneliness depicted in the film, or understood what it was like to be alone or isolated. I recall enjoying the first half hour because I thought it was funny, but the rest was dry and boring.

As anyone can understand, my life has changed a lot since then. I think after six years, most people's lives change drastically. I think I'd get a lot out of the movie now. It's funny, because from what I remember, there's nothing in the movie that I wouldn't show a 14 year old, but how many people of that age can grasp and enjoy the movie? I like to think I was pretty mature for my age at the time, but I still hadn't had the life experience necessary to find enjoyment in it.

Another one I'd kind of like to revisit is Superbad. I saw it near the end of its theatrical run, after everyone hyped about how amazing it was. The theatre was nearly empty. I find that for many comedies, watching it in a group is what makes the experience enjoyable. Laughter is contagious, right? But nobody was laughing, so I wasn't laughing either. I don't remember much of the movie, I just remember thinking that it wasn't as funny as everyone said it was. I think I'd want to watch it in a fun atmosphere with friends.

But then there are the movies from your childhood that you revisit and end up disliking. My most recent example would be FernGully: The Last Rainforest. I would watch it over and over as a child, because I was a huge animal and nature lover. I decided to watch it again after seeing Avatar and reading the comparisons between the two. You see, I could not remember much of anything from FernGully, aside from the weird bat. I didn't like it. I thought the plot was silly, the characters were thin, and the villain was laughable. I wish I'd just kept it as a childhood memory instead of watching it again, because now those childhood memories are just a little tarnished.

What is a movie you'd like to revisit? Or one you regret revisiting?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Jurassic Park III (Spoilers)

Note: There will be spoilers for all three Jurassic Park films.

So, after discussing movies I watch over and over, I decided to get into a movie that I don't watch over and over. I actually hadn't seen this movie in full since I saw it in theatres back in 2001. I've owned it for about two years now, and this is the first I've watched it. I got it in the "Adventure Pack" with the other two, which I've seen numerous times since I bought them, but I was never really interested in watching number 3 again.

But after a very long week, I decided I was in the mood to enter a world where people have to run from man-eating dinosaurs. And since I've seen the first two so many times, why not put in number three? You know what? I really enjoyed it. It's definitely not better than the first one, but it's comparable to the second. I've always really loved the velociraptors as villains, since they're portrayed as intelligent (and really scary) creatures. I also enjoyed the inclusion of the pteranodons, which brought the biggest scare of the film.

Funnily enough, as a kid obsessed with dinosaurs, my two favourite dinosaurs were velociraptors and pteranodons. I thought they'd have made cool pets. Which I guess is the reason my parents never showed me Jurassic Park when I was a wee tyke, because it would've traumatized me.

I think part of the reason I enjoy the first two so much is because of Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). He was the best part of the first one. He's upgraded from supporting character to main character for the second one, but I thought he was a completely different character in that one. One could argue that the experience made him a "changed man", but he's significantly less interesting the second time around. I read the second book a few years ago, and from what I remember, it is quite a bit different from the second movie. There are two children in the novel, and neither are related to Malcolm. The filmmakers "merged" the characteristics of the two children together and made the female character Malcolm's daughter. I didn't mind this so much, but if I recall correctly, I preferred the book to the movie. There's no silly dinosaur rampage at the end of the novel.

I've realized that all three movies have some sort of "save the kids/protect the kids" plot line. I hope that if they ever do a 4th film, they'll get away from that idea. Though, I think I would prefer if they let the series rest, due to the fact that Michael Crichton died in 2008. There has been so much talk of a 4th film since the third was released, but nothing has ever come of it, and I don't think anything ever should.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Movies on Repeat

As many of you know, I collect DVDs. On last count, I had about 120, though that number has gone up since then. I have noticed that, while I own many, I tend to turn to the same favourites time after time. I figure it is probably because they tend to suit my mood and my personality. And because they provide some sort of emotional catharsis. Here's a list:

1. Edward Scissorhands

I watch this one at least twice a year. I love the ending, the performances, and the soundtrack. I think that when you're listing movies that are your "favourites", you have to list ones you can watch over and over again. I've lost count how many times I've seen this movie in the last seven years, but it's a big number.

2. Moulin Rouge

Another one of my favourites. What I love about this one is that my feelings towards the female protagonist, Satine, changes depending on my mood. Sometimes I hate her, and think she's unworthy of Christian...other times I love her. I always see her as a tragic character though. I enjoy musicals, and I've got a lot of the soundtrack on my phone. A few have been unlucky enough to play the soundtrack in the car, and have been victim to the unfortunate sound of me singing. Yes, they survived. But barely. So obviously I love the soundtrack, but I also love the costumes, and the sets. It's a very pretty film.

3. Love Actually

I try my best to save this one for the Christmas season, but I also tend to watch it during the summer. As you can no doubt tell, I'm a sucker for love stories, and this movie is full of them. Husband and wife, father and step-son, manager and artist, unrequited love, developing love, etc. It's (mostly) a feel-good movie, and I'm always left smiling (though my cheeks are stained with tears as well) and feeling better about the world after finishing it.

4. The Notebook

I haven't met many women who dislike this movie. In fact, it seems to be the go-to modern romance film for many women. It's another one that makes me feel better about the world by the end of it. I'm the type of person who tends to prefer sad or bittersweet films to happy films. I always explained it by saying something like "with sad movies, you cry, and for two hours, you're crying for someone you don't know, which takes you away from your own problems in life". I still like that idea of mine, but lately I've been craving happy, fun movies because often I'm so stressed from school, that I just need the mental break that laughter gives me.

5. Shaun of the Dead

This one is slightly different from the others. It's a comedy...about zombies...and also (triples?) as a romance. Most importantly, it's great fun. Everytime I watch it, I discover something new to laugh at, and love introducing new people to it. It's always a joy to see someone laugh and enjoy a movie they haven't seen before. It's probably my favourite comedy. Has anyone not seen it? If so, I say we do a viewing at my place sometime.

6. Beauty and the Beast

I don't actually own this one on DVD. We have an old VHS copy, but I'm not even sure it works. Whenever I want to watch this movie, I turn to YouTube, where I can stream it in several parts. Far from the best way to watch it, but it's easy. I've told myself that I'll buy it on DVD one of these days. Three years ago, I watched it for the first time in about ten years, and fell back in love with it. Since then, I've watched it endless times, with friends, or by myself. It's become my favourite "classic" Disney animated film.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Going Through my Closet

I got inspiration from Kenton's blog entry. I tend to keep things around much longer than I should, so my closet is always less-than-organized chaos. My whole room is, really, because school keeps me from organizing things properly. It doesn't help that I'm naturally a very sentimental person. For example: I have a photo album where I've kept every movie stub I've gotten from the past 5 years. In this album I also have photos, and other little mementos. I didn't take a photo of the album, because there really isn't anything visually appealing about hundreds of movie stubs.

But the really interesting stuff is in my closet. Here's a peek into a normally closed off part of my life:

Chocolate! I went to a Halloween social last year, and won a chocolate fountain, and a ridiculous amount of chocolate. These are baking wafers I believe, presumably for use with the fountain, but since I've never used the fountain...I haven't really eaten many of the wafers. I'd actually forgotten I had all this, so my jaw dropped when I saw all of it. I had a few pieces and it still tastes good to me, so I should get on eating it. Does anyone want to help me?

One of my many boxes of stuff. In this photo there are:

A yellow t-shirt I received from the Women in Media camp I went to back in 2004 (I think it was 2004...). It was held at the Red River College Princess Street Campus, and the councillors were CreComm students! We filmed a documentary as part of the camp, and it was a great time.

The white t-shirt has a design I screen printed on it back in the 8th grade.

The yellow and orange box contains an assortment of cool rocks and little fossilized sea animals. I was really into dinosaurs as a kid.

A Canadian flag

Various teenie beanie babies

A ceramic shoe (huh?)

A pipe cleaner and bead crab I made as a kid with the help of my aunt.

My childhood blanket. Well, one of them. My original blanket (which looked just like this one) was lost in St. Vital Centre when I was 4 or 5. I think my brother threw it in the garbage and I didn't realize it until I got home. We went back to the mall, but we couldn't find it, so my parents got out the "other half" of the blanket, gave it to me, and the crisis was averted. It just sits on a shelf in my closet, but I can't bring myself to get rid of it. I guess because it was such a huge part of my childhood. I doubt I'll ever find a use for it, as it is too ratty to give to anyone or do anything with, but it can sit in my closet for awhile longer.

Friday, March 12, 2010

IPP Presentations 2010

I have spent the last three days attending the 2010 IPP Presentations at The Park Theatre. It has been a great experience for me, and it was great to see what I will be doing a year from now.

It was also very overwhelming. The amazing quality of the projects all the second year students presented blew me away. I am honestly not sure how I will ever live up to many of the IPPs that were done. I've been inspired further to do a great job on my own IPP. I've had the idea for a few months now, and I hope it gets through the panel, because I've become so passionate about it already. I loved the emotion I felt through the presentations. Some made me laugh hysterically, while others made me cry. Some did both. I started to imagine what my 'thank you' speech will be like, and for all my fellow first years: put all your 'crying pool' money on me, 'cause I can almost guarantee I'll shed a tear or two during the thank you portion. I'm also imagining what I'll wear when I give my presentation. And I am trying not to imagine falling off the stage in the heels I will likely be wearing. Ladies and gentlemen: you all looked classy and fantastic up on stage!

Another thing I enjoyed was the diversity of the projects. We had charity events, music promotion, musicians, novels, animations, graphic novels, films, radio documentaries, television documentaries, news/sports directing, and that's just off the top of my head. As I said, I've had my idea for awhile, but it was interesting to see what other directions I could go in. Hearing the difficulties some people had filled me with some serious anxiety, though. You all are troopers!

I want to thank my peers in second year for setting the bar so high. We've got a lot of work to do, but you've been an inspiration!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Movie Free Semester

I've been feeling guilty lately, because I haven't had time to watch a whole lot of movies lately. This semester has been so busy that I simply haven't had the time. And on the rare occasions that I do have the time, I often find myself wanting to watch something light that I've seen I can do homework while I watch!

This week there are the IPP Presentations at The Park Theatre, which means us first years get a bit of a break. I am hoping to get out and rent The Hurt Locker (this year's Best Picture winner at the Oscars) and Moon this weekend. I would also really like to see Alice in Wonderland, but am still looking for someone to go with. Who would like to see a movie this week, or next? It has been at least a month since I last went to the theatre, and I am not used to going this long without going! I think in many ways, I was spoiled last semester, because I was able to get out to the theatre more often, and got used to going at least once a week.

I'll admit to feeling slightly "lost" during the Oscars this year, because I had not seen all of the nominees. Last year, I believe there was one I hadn't seen, and that was because I was not interested in seeing it. This year, there were so many I had wanted to see, but missed because I simply did not have the time to see them. The fact that there were so many changes to the ceremony also bothered me a little. They didn't perform the best song nominees! I always love seeing them performed, and last year was bad enough when they were all performed together. I wasn't impressed with Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin as hosts either. It would have worked better with one host - instead it just felt awkward to me. There were a few funny bits, but much of it fell flat to me. I had a great time watching the Oscars though; I was tweeting live during it, and had a blast reading and responding to everyone else's tweets. Thanks for the fun, everybody!

Perhaps this "break" will end up being a good thing. Soon I'll be watching about a movie a day, which I am really looking forward to doing. It's almost like going from one extreme to another! But on that topic...I am looking for recommendations for this project. Comment with a few movies you would like me to see. Foreign films and older films are specifically requested!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Movie is Better than the Book?

I know, I know. How can the movie ever be better than the book?! Tar and feather her! But I have two examples to give, plus my rationale.


I'm often amazed I watched this film, period. I didn't think much of the trailer when I first saw it, but I decided to buy the book since it was cheap, and I'd heard good things about Neil Gaiman. The book wasn't bad, but to me, the audience was very "split". It seemed like it was meant to be a pre-teen novel, but at times, it was graphically violent. Those bits felt very out of place and disrupted the flow of the novel for me. Nevertheless, it was an easy read, and the opportunity to see it in theatres presented itself. And I LOVED it. Granted, a lot was changed (Robert De Niro's character in the book is very different), including the ending, but it was all an improvement. The problems with the "split" audience was fixed, and what we were given was a light-hearted, fun, fantasy film.

I haven't read anything more by Neil Gaiman, though I would really like to. Not that I have much time to read anymore, but over the summer if I have time, I'd like to try another of his novels. Any suggestions?

Forrest Gump:

My Dad gave me his copy of Winston Groom's Forrest Gump a number of years ago. He'd warned me that the movie was an improvement, but I didn't listen (since the movie is NEVER better, or so I thought at the time), and read the book. I didn't like it. I thought it was a little too ridiculous, and struggled to get through it. To be completely fair, I don't remember much of it, probably because I had so much trouble getting through it. But the experience was enough to keep me from rushing out to see the movie. I caught it a year or two later on television, and was hooked. Sure, Forrest's life is still a stretch, but it didn't seem ridiculous to me. Instead I found it to be very touching. Groom's novel, at least to me, made the events of Forrest's life into a joke, so I didn't feel anything at the end of it. Of course, the film is helped by the amazing performances Tom Hanks, Robin Wright Penn, and Gary Sinise give.

And here is an example of the opposite...a film adaptation that fails in every single way.

Captain Corelli's Mandolin

I really enjoyed Louis de Bernieres novel. The first hundred pages or so were slow going, but as I read further, I found myself fully absorbed in the story. I couldn't put it down. The characters were complex, the story was rich, and the love story was beautiful. Plus the ending was tragic, but...perfect in every way, even if it was also very "dissatisfying". I've been wanting to reread it for a long time, but, again, no time and if I did have time, I think I'd like to read books I haven't read yet, or at least reread a book that doesn't take a huge time commitment the way this one does. I caught the movie on TV about a year ago. I'd read it was a terrible adaptation, but I had nothing better to do, so I put it on.

It was a disaster. Nicholas Cage and Penelope Cruz were both terribly miscast (especially Cage, just listen to that horrible attempt at an Italian accent), and seemed to stumble across the screen. Charming Corelli seemed awkward and artificial when portrayed by Cage. John Hurt, as Dr. Iannis, was one of the few bright spots in the film.

But here's the kicker: they changed the ending! It wasn't surprising since much of the story prior to the ending had been changed or simplified in some way, but it still got a good eye roll out of me. Do yourselves a favour: read the book, and keep the characters in your mind. Don't see this pathetic adaptation of a beautiful novel.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hot Tub Time Machine

This movie was brought to my attention over the weekend, and I just can't get over it. Here is the trailer:

The title of the movie reminds me of Snakes on a Plane. The title says it all. I enjoyed Snakes on a Plane because it was fun. You can't go into a movie with a title like that, and expect anything serious. I saw it in theatres with my parents, and my Mom, who is terrified of snakes, screamed numerous times throughout it, which only added to the "experience". I have it on DVD, and it's one of my favourite "party" movies.

I figure Hot Tub Time Machine will be similar. Light fun that is best enjoyed with a group. I am hoping to catch it in theatres. I haven't gone to see many movies lately, because school has been keeping me busy, but I think I will have to make the time for this one.

I just want to say one thing about the trailer. There's a gag in the trailer involving one of the characters lamenting the fact that he has to "come find" a girl he's dancing with. I hate to say it, but I did sympathize with him. I've had a cellphone for about four years now, and I have a hard time imagining life without one. If I'm meeting someone and I can't find them, I'll send them a text to find out where they are, instead of risking missing them. If I'm running late, I can text the person so they're not wondering where I am. After experiencing life with a cellphone, I'm not sure I could live without one. I'd panic if I was waiting for someone, and they didn't show up when they were supposed to. How am I to contact them to make sure they didn't get lost? What if I am in the wrong meeting place?

I suppose I am a product of my time. I know very few people who don't have cellphones. Even my Dad, who for years swore he'd never get a cellphone, has one.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Olympic Sports (and the Oscars)

Sports fans, I just want to say this: I don't know how you do it.

I am not a sports fan. In fact, the Winter Olympics are the only sporting event I watch. And even then, I tend to stick to the boblsleigh, luge, and the skiing. But I got sucked into the plight of the men's hockey team, and watched them play Russia. That was an exciting enough game for me. That was nothing compared to today's gold medal game against Team USA. From the start, I had butterflies in my stomach. Then when Team USA scored that goal with only seconds left...I started to get real anxious. Heart in throat, etc. Luckily Sidney Crosby (who, to me, seems almost legendary) got us the game winner in overtime, and we brought gold home...which is just the way it should be.

I realized that I just can't be a sports fan. It gives me too much anxiety. Hockey is the one team sport I can stand to watch, and while I enjoyed myself, I'm kind of happy that it will be four years before I have to deal with that gut feeling! I'll stick to film and television, where there is not as much anxiety involved.

Due in part to the Olympics, I haven't watched many movies lately. I realized that the Oscars are a week from now, and I have yet to see most of the nominees! My goal is to get to The Hurt Locker before Sunday. The Oscars are more my scene. Yes, there is still the anxiety involved (will James Cameron take Best Director? Who will get Best Picture?), but I generally know when the award will be given, and know when the show will end. It just feels like a different type of anxiety and excitement. Plus, I know the names of most people in the room at the Oscars, whereas with sports, I'm lucky if I know the names of two of the players.

I always tell people that the Oscars are my Super bowl. I make my predictions, then on the night of the show, I sit down with a bunch of snacks, and yell at my TV all night. Last year was one of the best shows for me. I'd seen almost all of the nominees, so I didn't feel lost or out of the loop, and I got most of my predictions right (or was pleasantly surprised when I wasn't right)! Hugh Jackman did a great job hosting, and it was generally a fun, and often touching ceremony. This year, I am not as excited because I do feel a little out of the loop. I have not seen most of the nominees, because I've been so busy with school. That being said, a few days ago the excitement started to build up. I will just have to get online and do some research to decide who I think will win. Right now, I figure James Cameron is a lock on Best Director, and probably Best Picture as for the hosts, I am excited to see how Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin do. It has been awhile since they did it with two hosts, so the change in dynamic will be interesting. I know the last time Martin hosted, it was just after the Iraq War began, so the ceremony was more somber, and he didn't really get a chance to "spread his wings" so to speak. This year, he will likely get that chance, which means more opportunities for great comedy!

Plus, every year around this time I start to fantasize about winning an Oscar. I'd like to write the next great film, and get myself nominated for Best Original Screenplay. Then I'd be able to walk the red carpet, and meet all my favourite actors and actresses, and make the standard hurried, panicked speech when I win. Then I'd proceed to cry my make-up off backstage as a result of being so overwhelmed and happy. This past week I've been fantasizing about taking up bobsledding and winning a gold medal for Canada, but now that the Olympics are all but over, I'm back to dreaming about Oscar glory.

One week away! Who else will be watching the Oscars?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

This Week on...Lost

As always, don't read this entry if you have not yet seen the episode and don't want to be spoiled!

It was an interesting episode this week. I enjoyed "crazy Claire", and liked the bit of lying Jin did to save his own hide and to save Kate's. It has left me wondering how one comes down with this "sickness", and what exactly does it do. Does it affect everyone the same way? There seems to be some level of paranoia involved. On the same note, just who or what is Christian Shephard? Claire is friends with the Man in Black, and is also hanging out with her Dad, but my impression was that she was hanging out with the two of them at the same time. I thought that Christian was simply the Man in Black, and that he took over his body...but that may not be the case. It will be interesting to find out more about that.

The flash sideways was pretty neat as well. Jack has a son! I assumed that his mother was Sarah, Jack's ex-wife, but maybe that's not the case! It hasn't been revealed yet. Showing Jack's scar was a way of showing the audience that the two universes seem to be starting to collide or merge in some way. So there is significance to these flashes...we just don't know exactly what yet. This flash sideways made Jack's story come full circle in a way. Jack feared failure because he feared his Dad. David was the same way. But their story ended happier because Dad and son had a heart to heart talk, which brought them closer. Very touching moment.

The bits at the lighthouse were the best moments of the episode. First of all, that lighthouse looked fantastic. I want the Lost creators to build a replica in it in my backyard. It could be like my creepy playhouse. On a more serious note, it revealed something important: Jacob used the lighthouse to watch the candidates. I think Jack was brought there to be shown just that. But when Jacob failed to make an appearance, Jack threw a tantrum and destroyed the glass in the lighthouse. It was never revealed who 108 was, and who I assume is the one who is supposed to be brought to the island. Who do I think it is? One of the following:

Desmond: My favourite character. I've been hoping Desmond makes an appearance this season, especially since Ben swore to kill Penny after Charles Widmore killed his daughter. They need to find a way to integrate that plot line into the plot line of the final season, and this may be the way to do it.

Charles Widmore: He was kicked off the island years ago, and if I remember correctly, he was the former leader of the Others before Ben took over. It has never been established who has the island's best interests at heart (and who is less 'evil'), Ben or Charles. I've flip flopped between them. What if he has to come to the island to get rid of the Man in Black?

I just had a thought: what if it is Desmond, but Charles (and therefore, Penny and their child) tags along? Jacob didn't seem too disappointed that the lighthouse was destroyed, so maybe he knows that the person meant to arrive on the island is not good for the island and/or is not coming alone? Maybe Desmond is meant to come along, but is not coming alone? That Charles is coming, and he's bad for the island? Just a thought I had.

I also briefly thought that maybe it would be Walt, but now I kind of doubt it. I have a feeling that Walt's story is mostly done. But at the same time, part of me feels that Aaron and Walt have a larger purpose than we ever thought. Light versus dark, you know? Maybe I brought this up last week, but what if Aaron was a vessel for Jacob, and Walt, a vessel for the Man in Black?

The Man in Black is headed to the Temple now, which means trouble for everyone there. I get the feeling he may not be able to enter, at least not in "smoky form", because the folks at the Temple seemed to put some sort of protection down, if I remember correctly. Is Sawyer still with the Man in Black? If so, does that mean he will join them on the journey to the Temple? Looking forward to next week!

By the way, the Man in Black needs a name. As cool as the Man in Black sounds, I consistently think of The Princess Bride when I write it!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Leno is not "Back" Just yet...but the Mockery Continues

Oh Jay Leno, how I despise you. An Olympic promo for The Tonight Show has been released. Here it is:

I must say that I prefer the parody that has been made. It better fits his media persona (though I will admit I didn't actually think it was a parody at first...instead an attempt at self-deprecation). Here it is:

That song just fits with the smug look he has on his face in that promo. It makes me a little sick when I really think about it, but I've gone on and on about the way Conan has been treated. A few people have learned that defending Jay Leno around me is a poor idea. I try to be diplomatic, but I'm still bitter, and yes, the NBC executives carry most of the blame, but Leno could have been a decent human being and retired when he was supposed to. Or, if he didn't want to retire, he could have started over at another network! Here's a brilliant bit David Letterman did about the entire situation, it's not only funny, but completely on the mark:

There are articles online commenting about the quality of his first week of guests. Will the "big" celebrity guests return to The Tonight Show? I think they will eventually, if the audience returns to watch Leno. The Tonight Show is huge, and few people will turn down the opportunity to promote their film/TV show/album, even if they dislike the host. I think the Olympics have been a great thing for NBC, because it has given them an opportunity to sweep this controversy under the carpet. People are so wrapped up with the Olympics that they're not thinking about late night television and Conan O'Brien, and Jay Leno. Maybe people will have forgotten about it by the time he returns?

Many people have spoken about how awesome it would be for David Letterman to have Conan on his show the day Leno returns to The Tonight Show. That'd be a brilliant moment, and would really steal Leno's thunder. I figure NBC won't allow it, according to whatever is in the exit agreement, though. I wonder if they put that sort of thing in Andy Richter's exit agreement, if he had one?

And I can't believe I've never posted is Conan's farewell speech. It was really classy, moving, and inspiring. I watch it regularly, so here it is for those who have not seen it:

And he's right. When I was in high school, I was very cynical, but as time has gone on, that's kind of faded. I treat everyone with respect, and kindness, and slowly, really great things have happened in my life. And life is good, and I know much of it has come as a result of really hard work, but I believe in karma, and think that the way I treat people has to have helped in some small way.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My Thoughts on Titanic

For what it's worth, there will be spoilers in this entry, though I'm sure everyone knows how the film ends.

I felt compelled to write this after seeing that Titanic was airing on Peachtree TV. I am sitting in my living room watching the last hour right now, at this moment, Cal is about to use a crying child to secure his spot on a lifeboat. "Please, I'm all she has in the world." Clever, yet despicable. I actually own the movie on DVD, so I'm not entirely sure why I have an edited version, with extensive commercial breaks no less, on, but I do have a tendency to do that.

I was obsessed with this movie when I was seven years old. By that time, everyone seemed to have "Titanic-fever", and I just HAD to see it. I read everything I could about the ship itself, the passengers, the iceberg-I was a real Titanic expert as a kid. It seemed like I was one of the last people to actually see the movie, but my Mom took me to see it in theatres, and it was the best movie I'd ever seen. Even as a kid, I knew Jack would die, but I was mesmerized by the love story, the ship, the sinking, the dead bodies...everything! Plus it was the first movie I'd ever seen that showed kissing and nudity (eww...they're kissing! This was in the midst of my 'I'll hug my husband on our wedding day' phase.). It was my favourite movie for years.

I've grown up a lot since then. I've decided that I can probably manage kissing my husband should I ever decide to get married. I've also come to realize that Titanic is a rather silly movie. I still enjoy it, and I'll probably even cry at the end tonight when Jack dies...but I recognize that it is a bit ridiculous. I consider myself a romantic. But this movie stretches my romantic limit. They knew each other for 5 freaking days. I'm sure 3-4 of those days were pretty cool. Yes, having sex in a car must have also been a pretty nice way to pass the time as well. But would you jump out of a life boat onto a sinking ship for a man you knew for five days?

It is established in the film that they loved each other. I haven't decided how I feel about the notion of love at first sight. Sometimes I believe in it, most times I don't. But they loved each other on some level, and it would be hard to leave on a lifeboat, knowing that the person you loved was on the sinking ship. But after five days...would you potentially condemn yourself to death because you didn't want to leave without them? Plus, when you really, truly love someone, you want them to be safe, even if you aren't. Yeah, Jack told Rose she was stupid for jumping out of the boat, but I'd think if the man I loved did something like that, I'd be rather pissed off at them. If I can't be saved, but they can, I'd want them to go without me. Even if they feel guilty, even if they want to stay with me, I'd place their safety and well being first. Plus, I think I'd die of guilt if someone I loved jumped out of a lifeboat after I told them to go to safety, just because they didn't want to go without me.

I've been thinking a lot these past few minutes about the movie. It's about young love. And I think the story is told with a bit of nostalgia to it. We all have that love story that ended for some reason, that we look back on with a hint of nostalgia. In Rose's case, they didn't have the time to argue or break up or go through the "rough patches", because all they had were five days, and Jack died. But Rose moved on, and she had a great life. She told this big love story at the very end of her life, and that seems to make it clear that she didn't dwell on it. I like that, because it showed that she didn't spend the rest of her life thinking about five great days she had with some guy on a ship that sunk.

But despite all the silliness...James Cameron sure knows how to make them. Titanic's special effects were amazing for its time, and Avatar's special effects are revolutionary today. At this point, I'm thinking Cameron will probably win the best director Oscar, and I think he deserves it based on the amazing technology in the film alone. Say what you will about Cameron, but when he makes a movie, he knocks it out of the park. They're epic, and they get the crowds into the seats. So kudos to James Cameron.