Movie Suggestions for a Rainy Day

•April 5, 2011 • 9 Comments

Spring has arrived. While we all would love to be out enjoying the warm weather, April doesn’t always let us do that. Let’s face it, most of this month will be rain and thunderstorms, and instead of running around outside, I know I’ll be in many nights watching movies.

For me, rainy weekend nights call for heading to the local Family Video with the boyfriend and renting movies. And if you’re like us, you always have a difficult time figuring out which movie to rent. Actually, we usually have a really, really difficult time, as we usually argue in the store for over an hour while trying to agree on a movie (he’s very picky, but I still love him.) Here’s a few of my favorite movie ideas for you and whomever you choose to share your movie nights with:

Photo Cred: mtv.com

1. The Wedding Singer: Honestly, this is my favorite movie of all time. It has a little bit of chick flick and enough comedy to please any movie fan. Plus, Adam Sandler with a mullet? You can’t go wrong.

2. Saved!: A religious satire and a teen comedy. The movie follows a girl who becomes pregnant, and her Christian school friends start to turn on her. Mandy Moore is awesome in this as the Jesus-obsessed Hilary Faye.

3. The Princess Bride: Critics and fans alike adored this movie when it was released in 1987. A fairy tale about fencing, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, miracles, and of course, true love. Even typing about this one makes me smile.

4. Sin City: Based on the graphic novel, this movie is so visually appealing and action-packed that it’s hard not to be mesmerized. The A-list cast includes: Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Brittany Murphy, Josh Hartnett, Rosario Dawson and Alexis Bledel.

5. Labyrinth: If you love fantasy movies, this one is for you. Made in the 80s, the movie centers around a girl looking for her baby brother after the Goblin King took him away. David Bowie. Puppets. Several musical numbers. This movie is one of my favorites but beware that you have to expect its twisted ways to truly appreciate it.

6. (500) Days of Summer: All right, I know this one is the “chick flick” on the list, but guys and girls alike will appreciate it. I like it because it’s a very real look on relationships. Don’t start this one expecting it to be an uplifting love story. It also has an amazing soundtrack.

7. Clue: Based on the board game. An extremely fun thriller/comedy. Tim Curry and Christopher Lloyd are among the stars.

8. Out Cold: This one I had to include because it’s the BF’s favorite movie…and it’s hilarious. With Zach Galifianakis way before his Hangover days, the cast will definitely have you laughing. A brainless comedy indeed but an enjoyable one at that.

9. Big Fish: A different kind of Tim Burton movie then we’re used to…mainly because it doesn’t star Johnny Depp. A movie about one man’s life, as told in his son’s eyes while he’s on his deathbed. Visually appealing like other Burton films, it also had a great storyline to match.

10. The Shining: The one thing the BF and I always agree on is horror movies…and this one is a classic. “Heeere’s Johnny!”

Photo Cred: Circlecinema.com

Whether you like action, comedy, drama or horror movies – I hope this list helps you the next time you decide to rent a movie on a rainy day.

3D Movies: Love Them or Hate Them?

•March 29, 2011 • 7 Comments

Recently, just about every action/animated/horror movie that has been hitting the theaters has the extra “3D” visual appeal (plus costs an extra $3.50 to see).

Photo: Hollywood Reporter

Even older movies are jumping onboard with the new trend. Disney Studios announced its plans to release more than 15 movies in 3D this year. This includes recent films, such as Tron: Legacy and Tangled but also a few old classics, such as The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

3D television sets are having something to do with this going as far as it has. As people are buying these TVs, I just do not see the movies studios ending the 3D trend anytime soon.

As the rate it’s going, every movie may be turning over to 3D. But I feel like Hollywood hasn’t quite perfected the 3D picture, considering some of the movies released this past year. Let’s take a look at the movies that did it right and that did it so very wrong.

WHO DID IT RIGHT:

Despicable Me: This movie was my favorite 3D experience thus far. The “3D” was effective, as it just enhanced the storyline without being too over the top, blurry or distracting. The fact that the story was clever and entertaining also helped its cause.

Toy Story 3: While I’ve been very vocal on my blog to say that I just didn’t think this one was as exceptional as everyone thought it was, the visual effects were. The 3D didn’t make me nauseous by jerking my mind around, and it wasn’t distracting from the storyline.

Jackass 3D: Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking…but seriously, great use of 3D. The Jackass crew will always gross me out with their stunts, but the 3D made the third installment a different form of pure moronic comedy.

Avatar: I’m going to admit this, and I’m not proud of it, but I’ve never seen this one. I

Photo: Scificool.com

do plan to one day, and until then it cannot be absent from this list. It was the start of every 3D success, and the Oscar-winning movie has its visual effects to thank for its success.

WHO DID IT WRONG:

Saw VII: It’s the seventh Saw movie. Everything about it was terrible…including the sickening 3D effects.

The Final Destination: I’m ashamed to say I saw this in theaters. With blood and guts flying towards me every 15 seconds, the entire movie I suffered from motion sickness more than I felt the thrill of the storyline.

My Soul to Take: This movie was supposed to be another Wes Craven success, but sadly tacking on the 3D effect post-production just made the visuals blurry.

Photo: cinemovie.tv

The Last Airbender: A hugely anticipated M. Night Shyamalan film based on the popular television show focused everything on visuals to create TOO over-the-top effects, while the storyline was one of the worst of the year.

While I thought the beginning of this trend was pretty interesting and fun, now it has just gone too far. While Hollywood is trying to stay with the times, some films are just better left in 2D. Too many studios have killed the 3D for me by adding on the 3D effect after the movie was shot, right before it was released. If the movie wasn’t meant to be released in 3D while being shot, the picture often turns out blurry and worse off.

Bottom line: Cool visual effects do no save a terrible movie, but awful visual effects can destroy a good one.

What do YOU think? Do you “see” what all the 3D hype is about?

Public Relations Tactics to Prequels, Sequels and Trilogies

•March 8, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Is Hollywood obsessed with sequels? Let’s look closely:

In the past year, many sequels rocked the box office: Paranormal Activity 2, Iron Man 2, Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, Step Up 3D, Toy Story 3, Jackass 3D, Sex and the City 2 – just a name a few! Perhaps viewers like that they already know the characters walking into the theater before the movie. But is it just getting easier for filmmakers to get a little lazy on us by tacking on a sequel to a loved film instead of coming up with an idea for a new movie entirely?

With 2011 here, we’re being told that this is the year for sequels. We’ve got: The Hangover 2, Zoolander 2, Pirates of the Caribbean 4, Transformers 3, Avatar 2, Sherlock Holmes 2, Scream 4 – and this isn’t even all of them.

Photo cred: Google Images

Let take a look into one of the upcoming sequels this year, and the one that is possibly getting the most hype of all: Scream 4.

Photo cred: shockya.com

As a life-long slasher fan, I’ll admit, I was incredibly excited when I heard there was going to be a fourth installment to the Scream franchise. I’ve heard so much talk about this one and just about everyone I know is excited for it. So what makes this movie so exciting?

  • The original cast: The first Scream installment came out in 1996, with three big names: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette. 15 years later, all three of the original stars will be in the new movie.
  • Adding on new cast members: Not only will the old cast be in the film, many new, young, well-known actors will be added to the cast. This will attract fans of the original trilogy and new fans alike.
  • Wes Craven is directing: This attracts all slasher fans everywhere.
  • Personal drama on-set: America watched the first movie as two of main characters met on the set of the film and shortly married. Now, 15 years later, these two are going through a messy, public seperation, which involved multiple affairs and one trip to rehab. This makes America wonder – Will David Arquette be out of rehab to promote the film? Will he and Courteney Cox be promoting together? As a public relations student, I can’t help but think – was this divorce timing a publicity stunt? As a die-hard Courteney Cox/Friends fan, I cringe to make such an accusation.

    Photo cred: news.superiorpics.com

The biggest reason for the hype surrounding this one is simply because America loved it the first time around. The Scream movies are the most well-known horror movies of our generation.

While I love The Scream franchise, I worry that this movie will be an easy way to make a classic, beloved movie trilogy and carelessly tack on another installment – knowing it’ll have a huge following, no matter if it’s a good movie or not. Either way, I’ll be there at midnight to check it out, I’m sure. Until then, we can only hope for the best.

2011 Oscars

•March 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Last night was the night that we’ve all been waiting for. The Academy Awards took place to round out the awards season this year. I am incredibly disappointed to tell you that I did not achieve my very simple goal of seeing the last two movies – The King’s Speech and Winter’s Bone – I needed, in order to see all the Best Picture nominees.

With that being shamefully noted, the winners were no big surprise this year. The King’s Speech took home more awards then any other film, as expected. Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Supporting Actor were all quite predictable as the winners were heavy front-runners, winning the Golden Globe for the same categories.

I thought hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway gave it their all as hosts, with a hilarious introduction to the awards, but somewhere along the way, Franco fell flat leaving Hathaway the star host of the show.

If you didn’t catch the show, here is a full list of the winners:

  • Best Picture: “The King’s Speech.”
  • Actor: Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech.”

  • Actress: Natalie Portman, “Black Swan.”
  • Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, “The Fighter.”
  • Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, “The Fighter.”
  • Directing: Tom Hooper, “The King’s Speech.”
  • Foreign Language Film: “In a Better World,” Denmark.
  • Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network.”
  • Original Screenplay: David Seidler, “The King’s Speech.”
  • Animated Feature Film: “Toy Story 3.”
  • Art Direction: “Alice in Wonderland.”
  • Cinematography: “Inception.”
  • Sound Mixing: “Inception.”
  • Sound Editing: “Inception.”
  • Original Score: “The Social Network,” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
  • Original Song: “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3,” Randy Newman.
  • Costume Design: “Alice in Wonderland.”
  • Documentary Feature: “Inside Job.”
  • Documentary (short subject): “Strangers No More.”
  • Film Editing: “The Social Network.”
  • Makeup: “The Wolfman.”
  • Animated Short Film: “The Lost Thing.”
  • Live Action Short Film: “God of Love.”
  • Visual Effects: “Inception.”

My favorite moments:

Photo Credit: Yahoo! News UK

 

Natalie Portman winning Best Actress. All though she was heavily favored to win, I was still rooting for her. Her performance in Black Swan deserved an Academy Award – plus, who doesn’t love a cute pregnant woman?

Melissa Leo dropping the F-bomb during her award speech. I know many people were upset about this one, but this is her first Oscar. To see her slip up that much because she was in shock about winning was purely awesome. Melissa, you just nabbed yourself the highest honor you can as an actor, and you can do and say just about anything you’d like.

I’m such a girl for saying this, but I loved Anne Hathaway’s many outfit changes. She always looks stunning, and I was in awe of just about every dress she came out on stage in. If Anne is out there reading – please, please let me raid your closet someday.

And of course, I just loved seeing all the movie clips during the show. Some of the best movies I’ve ever seen in my life were nominated, and just seeing clips of those movies all in the same three hour period was almost heart-warming. I know I’m a cheesy movie buff, but this is the kind of stuff that allows me to reflect on my year.

I’m saddened to say, this was the end of our awards season. The red carpet action is over for a while. Hopefully you all tuned in and enjoyed as much as I did.

Academy Award Breakdown

•February 21, 2011 • Leave a Comment

As you know, one week from today will hold the most important event of the year for the film industry – The Academy Awards. As a movie buff, I pride myself of seeing all the movies up for the big nomination: Best Picture. So far, I’ve been doing well, with only two movies to see before the big day – The Kings Speech (which may just be the most important  – as it’s leading with the most nominations) and Winter’s Bone – and I know this year, my goal to see all ten will be reached.

Since I won’t be able to tell you what I thought of The King’s Speech and Winter’s Bone until later this week, I’m going to rank the rest of the films up for Best Picture, according to yours truly:

8. Toy Story 3: I know all you Toy Story fans will hate me for this one, but I just don’t know why this movie is on the list. Yes, the movie was well done and above average for an animated film, but it’s still an animated movie. To me, a good movie keeps you engaged the whole time, which this did. But a great movie has you thinking about it long after the movie is over, which this definitely didn’t do. Yes, I left the theater thinking it was cute, but personally, I could have done with or without it this year.

7. The Social Network: As we all know from my other blog post, this movie was excellent but not nearly as amazing as everyone makes it out to be. I love the concept of the movie, and it was marketed brilliantly, but the performances were mediocre at best. Maybe I just saw it with too high expectations, maybe I just need to see it again but this one nears the bottom of the list for me.

6.  The Fighter: This movie was one that I have most recently seen, and I really enjoyed it. I liked the story, but it’s the movie’s actors that shine the most. Christian Bale and Melissa Leo will surely win Best Supporting Actor/Actress for this one,which will be well deserved. For those who love this one, I really liked it as well, but there just happen to be other much better films this year.

5. Inception: This one I rank so highly merely because the concept was so creative. I love movies that scramble your mind a bit, and you can’t help but wonder – who thinks of this stuff? The effects were pretty amazing, and the whole idea itself was what makes the film. My one issue with it? Again, the performances weren’t the best. While Leonardo Dicaprio is one of my favorites, I’ve seen him do better and no one in the film gave a performance worth remembering.

Here’s where the countdown gets tough for me. The last four movies were all so amazing and memorable it’s hard to rank them.

4. The Kids Are All Right: My favorite thing about this movie was how real it was. The movie told the story of the challenges facing a family. The performances were amazing, and the storyline was touching and relatable. Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo are at their best.

3. True Grit: Can you really go wrong with Jeff Bridges? A re-make of the original True Grit with John Wayne, this one is does not fail to live up to its expectations. The entire cast is brilliant, and you don’t have to be a Western fan to enjoy every second of this.

2. 127 Hours: While this one is hard to watch at points, it was well worth it. James Franco tells the true story of a man that gets his arm trapped under a boulderwhile hiking and is forced to cut his arm off to get out alive. Franco gave an amazing performance that has you engaged the entire time.

1. Black Swan: This movie was easily one of my favorites of the year. It completely twists your mind and shows a very ugly side of a ballerina trying to reach perfection. Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis prove that they are forces to be reckoned with in the industry. Every scene of this movie is satisfying and leaves you thinking about it long after you’ve left the theater.

Of course, this list will change once I see the last two movies. I will let you know what I think when I see them. Stay tuned.

BLUE VALENTINE: NC-17 or R?

•February 14, 2011 • 1 Comment

Critically acclaimed one of the best movies of the year, Blue Valentine, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, did not get released without incredible controversy. Did the controversy surrounding the film hurt its chances at winning an Academy Award (that would have been well-deserved, in my opinion)? Or did it create free publicity, causing America to wonder – what all the fuss was actually about?

In case you haven’t heard what caused all the controversy in the first place, here’s some background:

When the movie was about to be released, the MPAA slapped it with an NC-17 rating, instead of your standard R, for a graphic scene where Gosling performs oral sex on Williams. NC-17 ratings imply that no person under the age of 17, with parental consent or not, is allowed to go see the movie. In almost all cases, NC-17 ratings kill movies in the box office because mainstream theater chains often won’t play the movie.

The movie’s director, Derek Cianfrance and actor Ryan Gosling, challenged the MPAA to reduce the rating to R. The two claimed that the industry was being sexist, as several R-rated movies in the past have shown a man receiving oral sex from a woman. Eventually, the MPAA reversed their decision, making Blue Valentine a more appropriate R-rated movie.

The drama doesn’t end there, the Parents Television Council publicly criticized the MPAA for “buckling under intense pressure and lowing the age rating of film.” Still, the MPAA stood by their R-rating, and Blue Valentine was shown in theaters around the country.

As the controversial rating and overturning of NC-17 took place, I started to look into this film. I started to wonder, “What could possibly make this love story so controversial?” I’ve seen several R-rated movies that have had graphic scenes that were never stirred up this kind of hype, so why this movie? I wanted to see the film; I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

I saw the movie in December, right after it’s release date. It was nothing short of amazing. The story was so gripping and real, and it’s one of those movies that has you thinking about it long after you’ve left the theater. The performances are out of this world. Gosling and Williams depiction of a couple at the prime of their relationship, and stuck together long after the death of it is captivating. The movie is painful to watch, as you feel for both characters in every gripping scene.

As for the controversial sex scene? I’ve seen worse in other movies. The MPAA was right in lowering their rating.

Recently, the Oscar nominations were announced and, to my surprise (and outrage), Blue Valentine was missing from the Best Picture nominees and Best Actor. Michelle Williams did score a nom for Best Actress, which I was thankful for. Yet in my opinion, Ryan Gosling gave an equally amazing (if not better) performance as Williams.

The actors made the movie in this one. It only makes me hope that the controversy surrounding the movie and Gosling’s open criticisms toward the MPAA was not the cause for this Oscar snub.

Either way, the hype surrounding Blue Valentine, made people want to see the movie, I’m sure. Hopefully, when they got to the theater they focused less on controversy and more on the film itself. And if you haven’t seen it yet, I’d highly recommend you do and decide for yourself:

Do you think Blue Valentine deserves the NC-17 rating, or is the R-rating more appropriate?

Famous Favorites (and not-so-favorites)

•February 8, 2011 • 2 Comments

While this is blog about movies, there is something that can make or break a film – the actors. So how should actors act in the public spotlight? People obsess over celebrities, watching their every move – so there has to be some logic behind what they should do and how they should act – to ensure their image is maintained.

As a public relations student, I’ve been learning about how to represent a brand, create and maintain an image for a company, and how to relate to an audience. Getting into film, I’ve learned that actors, and celebrities in general, must use these same techniques to sell themselves to an audience.

Think about it, how many of you like an actor or actress, not only because of their acting ability but their personality, or the way their personality comes off to us during interviews? The public loves to see what these actors are like in “real life.”

If I were the publicist for any actor, I would advise them that there are a few crucial things to try to get across to the public about themselves:

THE RELATABILITY FACTOR

The public enjoys looking at movie stars and to see that they’re real people who go through real struggles. Perhaps this is why the paparazzi are at every corner in LA, hoping to catch a star out doing everyday activities or perhaps it’s the reason for the infamous Keeping Up with the Kardashians show was such success. People want to see a real look into celebrities’ lives.

Recently, I watched an interview with Reese Witherspoon. In that interview she discussed how she doesn’t like to look at magazines with her picture in them because she cannot take a good picture. Clearly, Reese is gorgeous and couldn’t take a bad picture if she tried, but hearing that made me realize that she gets self-

conscious, just like everybody else. It’s comforting to know that some celebrities don’t let all the fame and fortune get to their heads and manage to stay grounded and normal.

THE LIKE-ABILITY FACTOR

There are many ways an actor can make themselves likeable for their audience. First and foremost, I’d advise someone to stay grounded in interviews. Most stars don’t talk about their lives of luxury in on-air interviews, for good reason. Actors should show the public a sweet side of them and an appreciation for their fans.

The easiest way I’d advise someone to do this is by being friendly. Always be friendly to those who interview you and show what a joy you are to work with.

Connecting with fans is a huge part of being likeable. Twitter is an amazing tool for celebrities to do this. One person who uses Twitter to connect with fans is Ellen DeGeneres. The talk show host has millions of followers and uses her account to let fans know what is going on with her life.

WHEN IN DOUBT, STICK TO WHAT YOU KNOW

For actors, their job is to entertain the public. When I watch celebrities promote their films or give on-air interviews, I expect them to continue that entertaining. There are a lot of stars that do this right.

Watch any Seth Rogen interview and you’ll understand my point. Any question he gets asked, he answers and makes his answer hilarious. Every time I watch him I cry laughing. It makes me think about how fun he must be to be around.

Taylor Swift is open about just about everything in her interviews. When asked about what/who her songs were written about, her love life and anything else, the 21-year-old sweetheart answers honestly. It’s what makes America love her and makes all members of her audiences’ hearts melt when she flashes her adorable smile.

While I have no doubt that many celebrities get these simple, yet effective strategies to presenting themselves right, there are a few that do it oh-sovery wrong.

WHO JUST DOESN’T HAVE IT FIGURED OUT YET

Chances are when you think of Angelina Jolie you either absolutely love her, or you cannot stand her. I have yet to met any “celebrity fanatics” who feel indifferent towards her. I can see why the people who love her do. She has a presence about her that’s very “movie star.” She also is a humanitarian who does admirable amounts of charity work. But as someone learning PR, I have many reasons I cannot stand her.

First off, Angelina Jolie makes a very crucial mistake in presenting herself to the public. She is not relatable. I don’t think I could find one person to attest that she is. When I think about her, I cannot recall one moment where I’ve seen her with her fans, signing autographs or taking pictures. She’s never seen with co-stars or friends, only out with her famous family.

Secondly, and perhaps the main reason why I dislike her, is that Jolie refuses to do any late-night show interviews. The only interviews she gives are special 60 Minutes interviews about her charity work or magazine interviews. The last interview she gave to show a personal side of her was in 2004 on Ellen. How can someone be likeable when they refuse to show their personality?

Notoriously snubbing Ryan Seacrest for an on-air interview on the red carpet at the Golden Globes in 2009 wasn’t smart either. It gave me the feeling that Jolie thinks she is too good to give interviews on the red carpet, when celebrity interviews are why the red carpet pre-show exists. At the most recent Golden Globes, Jolie’s film The Tourist was called out by host Ricky Gervais. While co-star Johnny Depp was shown laughing in audience, Jolie was never shown. In fact, I’ve never seen or heard her say a thing about when others poke fun of her – whether for her past wild-child ways or the movies that weren’t favored by the critics. One thing Jolie could learn from other celebrities is to make fun of herself and have a sense of humor.

I know many people will call me out to say the real reason I don’t like Angelina Jolie is because I am a Jennifer Aniston fan. Just to clarify, I AM a huge Aniston fan..always have been and always will be. This simply isn’t the reason I dislike Angelina Jolie, though. The Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie/Jennifer Aniston love triangle happened six years ago…Jen’s over it and so am I. I simple don’t agree with how Jolie presents herself for the reasons above.

Yet from 2004 Brad Pitt affair, Jolie has attracted many “haters.” She just needs to step it up to finally rid herself of the bad image that is associated with her.

As if she’s reading, I’ll give her advice. Go on talk shows, give interviews more often and show us that you live a normal life, just like us. Crack jokes and please, please have a sense of humor and learn to make fun of yourself. And most importantly, you’re beautiful, successful and talented – Would it kill you to smile every once and a while?