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Monday, March 28, 2011

Top Ten Celebrity Crushes

10. Kate Mara
You'll know her from Shooter, We are Marshall, and from an extremely brief cameo in Iron Man 2. He little sister has been getting more pub than here recently (The Social Network, and the unfortunate American reworking of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). She is seriously gorgeous, and I wouldn't mind seeing her at my local bar.

9. Emanuelle Chriqui

The first 'Entourage' babe on the list, but she won't be the only one. She doesn't have the film credentials that her hotness demands but seeing her in 'Entourage' is good enough for me.

8. Jennifer Lawrence 
Hot in a very non threatening way, J-Law has guys like me wishing I was famous so I could go out to dinner with her once in a while. And while I'm talking about her; she totally deserved to win the Best Actress Oscar. Natalie Portman who?

7. Hayden Panettiere
Pretty much the Anti- J-Law, Hayden is out of this world hot. Just looking at her makes me feel like I am sinning. Speaking of which....

6. Emma Watson
She's a Witch! Did you see what I did there? ...No? Ok, whatever. Anyway let me get on with it- I actually almost applied to Brown just to say I could go to school with her (and no that is not true but could you imagine?)

5. Miranda Kerr
If you don't know about her you should. She got married a couple of months ago and is now off the market for good but just because there is a goalie in the net doesn't mean we can't score right?

Oh wait, she married Legolas? I thought he was the new captain of the Flying Dutchman and couldn't have human interaction... 

4. Blake Lively
Pretty much after I watch Accepted I was sold on her. One of the most beautiful people I have seen, and she can actually act! Can it be true??

3. Kristen Stewart

I guess I'm in the minority. Not about her attractiveness (she's got that bad girl thing going on), but that the raging debate about her acting abilities. She is hot enough for me to see her in questionable movies; and no that's not an admission of me seeing all three 'Twilight's' in theaters, although it's not a denial...

2. Jennifer Aniston
She is 42. Is this even fair, does she follow the rules of age? Probably not but that's okay. For me, it has gotten to the point where I will go see her in just about any movie she's in, even though they all suck (Marley and Me wasn't bad, in fact it was a bit of a tear jerker- but I was on a date so I had to earn a little brownie points.. you'll understand). Plus JA is the only way I would even consider buying Vitamin Water, I mean have you tasted that swill?

1. Autum Reeser
Chances are that If you are a fan of 'Entourage' or 'The O.C.' (a show I have seen and would defend 'till the death) you know about this babe. She's a pretty good actress but she is even better as eye-candy- I generally enjoy her as both. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

'Lincoln Lawyer' Review

In what is, by default but not lack of merit, Matthew McConaughey's best film in which he is a lead actor, 'The Lincoln Lawyer' is a moderately tense, witty courtroom thriller. Inspired by real people and events, as well as adapted from a novel of the same name, this film is nothing that hasn't been seen before, but it is so charming and constantly interesting that it makes for a rewarding viewing experience.

McConaughey stars as Micky Haller, a LA defense attorney who works out of the back of his Lincoln sedan- an angle the film does not properly explore (but more on this later). Micky is quick on his feet, a smooth talker and a very competent attorney, albeit strapped for cash. So when he lands Louis Roulet as a client, a 'playboy' for lack of better wording, his fortunes seem to turn. But as he learns more about the case and Roulet, Micky begins to see the big picture and finds himself in a dangerous situation, a situation that not only affects him, but his entire family.

The writing is spectacular, nothing useless, nothing over the top, just quick little jabs that provide the audience with the right amount of information, or withhold enough to keep us guessing until the end. Although the film itself offers little to the All-Time court film repertoire, it does not fall into the land of cliche and is able to maintain its own style.

So what if we are usually in terrible movies?
At least this one is competent.
In addition to the writing, the acting was pitch perfect. The casting was exceptional and all the actors absolutely took charge of their roles and made me feel as if this was reality. Ryan Phillippe, who usually doesn't light the world on fire with his acting or films, turns in an wondrous performance as Louis Roulet. McConaughey is great in his role as well, blending his southern-boy charm with an intelligence seldom seen in his past work. Others of note are Michael Pena as a former client and William H. Macy as a private investigator.

For all the great things that can be said about it, this film did feature its share of problems, none more prevalent than the direction of sophomore Brad Furman. Now his effort certainly will not earn him a Razzie Award (he does not deserve one) but this film in the hands of a more capable director would only have added to the films successes. Furman utilises unnecessary close-ups and disconcerting camera angles heavily in the first half of the film before seemingly finding his groove and directing in a more conventional way.

My second gripe is the way in which the story is formatted. The third act is nauseatingly drawn out to the  point where the audience believes the film could have ended in 3 different places. After a film climaxes the norm is for falling action to tie up all the films loose ends and leave the audience satisfied with the direction of the main character. In The Lincoln Lawyer there is new conflict introduced after the final climatic court scene, a fact which takes away from the strength of the story- and leaving me less satisfied (which is obviously what is important here).

However my biggest problem with this film is the lack of attention paid to Lincoln Lawyering. Sure Micky Haller takes a call, and reads a legal document or two, but there is zero exposition as to why he 'works' out of the back seat of his car, and, quite frankly, if the name of the film didn't give it away I am not entirely sure audiences would see the car as his office. It is a shame, not necessarily a deterrant, that this situation is not explored because it could have been one of the most interesting parts of the film.

This film is a great watch and enjoyable from start to finish, just do not expect it to take the legal drama anywhere it has not been before.

8/10 - Definitely Need to See This Film

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

'Paul' Review

'Shaun of the Dead' and 'Hot Fuzz' are two of the premier satire films of the past decade, both hilarious, heartfelt and spawned from the collective minds of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. These clever Brits are at it again in 2011 with the extra-terrestrial comedy, 'Paul,' however this outta-this-world comedy falls flat on its premise and brings those with high hopes back down to Earth. Ultimately it is a charming movie that doesn't offer enough laughs.
What did the alien say to the garden gnome?
Take me to your weeder.

Graeme (Pegg) and Clive (Frost) are two sci-fi nerds who have travelled to San Diego, CA for the annual Comic Con convention, ogling at almost everything. Clive writes graphic novels and hopes that meeting his idol, Adam Shadowchild (Jeffrey Tambor) will help him on his path to success, but this doesn't work out the way Clive would have hoped. On their way back across the country they discover Paul (Seth Rogen), an alien who disputes every perceived stereotype of himself. Paul is being hunted by the government, most notably the hardcore Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman) and the incompetent Haggard (Bill Hader) and O'Reilly (Joe Lo Truglio). This central conflict sets the scene for a race across the dessert in order for Paul to return to his mother ship and take him back home.

The film is sweet and sentimental but it lacks in gags- and clearly that is the most important aspect to any comedy film. Most of the films attempted jokes are spawned from the misunderstanding people have for Paul, and aliens in general; a joke that is dragged endlessly through the entirety of the film, and, while it may have been funny the first time, by the end it was terribly hard to bear witness. The major problem here is that there is just not enough going on: there is the central conflict and chase, a love angle between Graeme and Kristen Wiig's character, and thats about it. The film is a very lightly pack hour and a half, not going to the lengths that would be expected from a Pegg- Frost film.

Whereas in many comedies the films supporting cast steal the show and often offer many of the films most memorable lines, it was not the case with 'Paul.' Bateman's character was remarkably uninspired and Hader/ Truglio's characters were so much less than their incompetent ways demanded.

Chalk this films failure up to one thing- the poor writing. Lack of gags, references to TV shows that aired in 1992, zero interesting characters, this film is a veritable failure no matter which way it is sliced. If taken seriously this film is 'E.T.' if taken as a comedy this film is a waste of time. And while not terrible, 'Paul' has to be the most disappointing film of the year so far.

4/10 - Spend your money elsewhere.

Friday, March 11, 2011

'Battle: Los Angeles' Review

Here is a film that flashes moments of competence and several relatively exciting battle sequences, just not any other substance. The film fails in almost every aspect of the construction process: story, characters, dialogue, directing and the acting, resulting in a shell of a film. While naming all of these might be a bit excessive, I assure you it is not, this film is really not a cinematic achievement on any level and is not a movie I would recommend to anyone.

So sick? You bet.
Battle: LA stars Aaron Eckhart as a Staff Sergeant in the US Marine Corps, a miscast if there ever was one.  Eckhart is known more for being a smooth talking, good looking guy, not a foul mouthed, intimidating authority figure, and to me it is in the foremost as to why this film fails. His character is flat and uninteresting, with absolutely zero character development, leaving me to wonder what a script like this (besides the aliens invading) drew him into this role. Besides Eckhart, there were several other recognizable faces. Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan and Ne-Yo play various other parts in the film- cementing my dislike for Rodriguez as an actress but showing me what kind of talent Ne-Yo has as an actor (seriously).

After sitting through a 2 hour headache of a film I had trouble identifying a main plot line- or story. Yes, the planet is overrun by aliens and obviously the humans want to get rid of them but all the main characters seem to do is run around and shoot at 'em with no real plan. It is not until the beginning of act 3 that any of the characters make a decision as to what they are going to do to stop the aliens, and by that point I really didn't care. Built out of the same mold as story, is the unrealistic situations these characters find themselves facing. There are several instances when the marines stand around and watch CNN or other news networks and learn the news that way instead of being briefed by the commanding officers; and other times it seems as though the world stops for minutes at a time while these characters talk or interact with others.

In this film there is evidence of an inordinate amount of cliche, stealing pages out of the scripts of films like Black Hawk Down and District 9. I tried to keep track but after the Lieutenant yelled, "Marines, wooooh-haaaaah!" I mentally checked out.

This film also featured an abundance of 'shaky cam,' a style of directing that is in no way becoming to a film. It is usually this style of camera work that give films a gritty, realistic feel- helping the audience to see themselves as an extension of the actors. In this case it does not fit with the rest of the film. The film is an event film ( as evidenced by the thousands of commercials promoting it) and not as artsy as it tries to be. This is not The Hurt Locker, this is supposed to be a popcorn flick that doesn't have to take itself seriously, and while parts of the film do this successfully, others do not, making a very up and down film going experience.

2/10 - Wait for the DVD

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

'Ghosts of Girlfriends Past' Review

A decently constructed, tragically overlooked film, The Ghost of Girlfriends Past lacks originality but is charming and spurred on by a strong central lead and wonderful supporting characters. A reworking of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol, this film is hardly original, in fact by all accounts it is terribly cliched, but the overall film does not suffer from its weak storytelling.

What's not for your own good
is for my entertainment.
Matthew McConaughey plays Conor Mead, a self absorbed ladies man who has trouble cultivating relationships with anyone other than himself. When he returns to the house where he grew up for his brothers wedding he must confront his old life, and his old girlfriend (Jennifer Garner), while still clowning around as his still crazed, Charlie Sheen-self. After having one too many drinks at the rehearsal dinner, Conner starts seeing dead people- notably his uncle, played by Michael Douglass, and his first high school lay, played by Emma Stone. In addition to these two, two more ghosts visit Conner throughout his night and try to help him see what an ass he is and that he is ment to be with Jennifer Garner's character.

First of all, McConaughey has absolutely no chemistry with Garner, a fact due more toward Garner's futility as an actress, making the mushy love scenes almost unbearable to watch and not nearly as sentimental as the writers probably thought they would be. For a love story it is remarkably uninspired and lacks any sort of sentimental value, resulting in a main story line that bores and does not create any sort of feeling.

However, as in most comedies, the redeeming quality of this film lies in the supporting cast that features the likes of  Michael Douglas, Emma Stone and Breckin Meyer. Douglas, who plays Conner Mead's playboy uncle, steals the show with what little screen time he is given, delivering the films best pieces of dialogue. Emma Stone plays The Ghost of Girlfriends Past and is a zany, bracefaced teen who really excels in her role.

Overall the film is flat and not as romantic as its Rom-Com premise would have one believe, but it offers mild entertainment value and some funny moments. A great date movie and a film that definitely deserves to be seen, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past may be run of the mill- but, then again, even that is better than half the shit Hollywood produces?

Final Grade: 5/10 -- Seen better, seen worse.