Movie Review of The Last Unicorn and Playing Dress Up

I’m currently watching The Last Unicorn, Anniversary Edition, which I borrowed from the library because my niece likes unicorns, still believes in magic, and is confident the workers on the side of the road are pumping magic treasure into the ground. The Last Unicorn is set in medieval times and is about a Unicorn that sets out to find other unicorns, convinced she is not the last one left on the earth. Along the way she encounters danger, adventure, and monsters. The Last Unicorn, based on the book by Peter S. Beagle, boasts the voice acting talent of Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow, Angela Lansbury, Alan Arkin, and Christopher Lee with songs performed by America.

Some notable moments are the riddle speaking butterfly that made my niece quite excited. I mean, talking butterflies with hats, what more could a five year old ask for? Plus he calls the unicorn sunshine, or sings about sunshine, I couldn’t quite tell from the kitchen where I was cutting apples; but my niece was quite happy and said, “You know my grandpa with the long beard? He calls me ‘Sunshine.'” Which made me laugh quite a bit, because her description was hilarious and accurate. She’s talking about my father, and you tell me if she was spot on.

dad

OK, so it’s not the longest beard I’ve ever seen, but it is pretty intense. In fact, when his hair is sticking up and wiry someone once aptly called him a bush with two eyes.

The movie is far more detailed and the plot line more extensive than I would have thought. The art work is quite good, with the animation classic scooby-do (I’m sure there is a proper term for this, but that is what I call it). The background is very vague and the characters detailed, but with little shading. Some of the animation gets a bit muddled with all the magic going on, but an eye pleasing experience over all.

I didn’t finish the movie though. As I said it is rather detailed in plot and my niece got bored about halfway through when the plot hadn’t even taken off yet. It just kind of meandered along really, I was bored myself. So I suggested we get dressed up and go for a walk. Which we did, and had a grand time. I mean to go back and watch the end of the movie, but high fantasy isn’t really my thing and I couldn’t justify giving time over to a movie I didn’t really want to watch when there are so many other shows I’m behind on. Like HIMYM. (I just got around to watching my DVR of the show and watched the series finale and WHAAAA???)

I mean, doesn’t this look like more fun anyway?

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Movie Review: Seeking A Friend for the End of the World

In a month everyone dies. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World stars Steve Carell and Keira Knightly in a indie comedy about an asteroid that is about the destroy the Earth. Nothing much matters any more, and nobody belongs to anyone. But Dodge and Penny decide to help each other finish unfinished business, Dodge is off to find the girl that got away and Penny just wants to find a working plane to get back to her family overseas.

seeking a friend for the end of the world

This movie is a realistic and depressing look at what people will be doing when the world ends. Not fighting zombies, not eking out a coexistence with the Chakz, but trying to find peace in the face of the inevitable. Knightley and Carell are an unlikely match that works well. Their chemistry slowly builds, changes, and makes sense as the story continues. The movie is funny, poignant, and a little sad.

I liked the feel of the movie, that people will be who they have always been. Dodge continues to try and sell insurance to a world that is about to cease its existence and Penny takes back her emotionally abusive boyfriend she doesn’t care about because it’s the familiar. It takes a different kind of connection than an asteroid hitting the earth to shake them up from their routines, it takes a clashing of human connection to force their mindsets to change.

If you don’t mind a little bit of sadness in the midst of a beautiful human connection, watch Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. You may laugh and you will probably cry, but the beauty of the moment will be worth it.

“This is how the world ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper.” T.S. Eliot

Movie Review: Rise of the Guardians

Recently I’ve been introduced to a lot more children’s movies, and reintroduced over and over. I’ve now seen Rise of the Guardians at least half a dozen times. Not necessarily all the way through at one time, but I’d say, put together the 100s of times the movie has been playing at home, and I’ve seen the whole Rise of the Guardians at least six times. Only we call it the Jack Frost movie.

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Pitch Black (voiced by Jude Law) starts stealing children’s dreams and is turning them into nightmares, he feels that the Boogey Man is no longer feared and as a result he has lost power. The only way to get more power, is to get more children to believe. So he invades their dreams. As a result the number of children who believe in Santa Claus (played by Alex Baldwin with a heavy accent the entire time), the Australian boomerang dealing Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fischer), and the Sandman are diminishing as they give all their believing power over to Pitch. The Guardians of the children are loosing power so the Man in the Moon decides that they need another helper and he picks Jack Frost (Chris Pine) from obscurity at the bottom of an icy river to aid the others. No one believes in Jack Frost and he has a hard time fitting in with the other guardians, plus he is trying to remember where he came from and he spends the rest of the movie learning how to be part of a team and understanding what it means when children believe in you. All very heart warming indeed.

I like that the movie has a solid central story line and doesn’t necessarily delve deeply into all of the characters, but only enough to add depth. At the same time I like how a lot of the way Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny do their jobs are explained in this movie, it’s done really well and almost makes me a believer again. My favorite side character is  the Sandman, he doesn’t say a word, yet he makes me laugh the hardest.

I think the best voice actor of them all is Alec Baldwin, he does a fabulous job as Santa Claus, bringing a lot to the boisterous character just with his acting chomps. Surprisingly, it’s Chris Pine who is the least adept at being a voice actor. Some of his lines fall a little flat as though his imagination weren’t quite working in that moment. Because it takes a lot of imagination to bring your voice to where it needs to be to read the lines. Hugh Jackman and Isla Fischer are fine in their respective roles and Jude Law does an impressive job as Pitch. I just love to hate that guy.

A sweet children’s movie, with a really good story line and acting, Jack Frost… I mean Rise of the Guardians is a movie adults will enjoy as well.

Video Day: A Post Full of Videos to Take Up Your Time. You are Welcome.

Nerdy Love Song with Kitten Bombing. This video is just too cute for words. [via The Mary Sue]

Austenland is being made into a movie. This looks cute. I do really like Kerry Russell. [via The Mary Sue]

Agents of Shield, the spin-off from the Avengers because Agent Coulsen is the BOMB! Gah, I think I’m drooling!

Old Boy remake Starring Josh Brolin, Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Olsen and Sharlto Copley. The problem with these type of movies is that I really want to watch them to find out the mystery aspect of the movie but I have to keep my eyes closed for much of it, because there is a lot of graphic violence. Also, there is some nudity. So the trailer is NSFW. 

Doctor Who Day: Tutus, Monsters, and Crossovers

This TARDIS tutu is rather simplistic, but I do love the idea. I’m not sure it is worth $150 as it looks like a cami (with TARDIS printing on it) has been sown onto tulle, but it is pretty. Aaaand further research shows that the $150 is only for the skirt. Hmmm. Well, perhaps tulle is expensive?  Hmmm, well it does look labor intensive? I guess. Anyway, interesting idea. [via]

I know I have posted other mash-ups with Sully and Mike and the TARDIS door, but I just love this concept art. I just rewatched Monsters Inc. because Chris had never seen it and I wanted to rewatch it before I saw Monsters U, but then I never saw Monsters U. Which is still a bummer. Perhaps I’ll try to see it this weekend. [via]

I really enjoy beloved characters meeting each other, like this Doctor Who and Garfield cross over. The only time I want to see a Dalek and wouldn’t take a bat to it is if it were here to exterminate Mondays. You can buy it as a t-shirt or hoodie on Redbubble.

So there is this concrete bench down by the lake near where I live that gets painted every year. A committee comes up with a theme, divides the wall into sections and participants are given a section to paint as they will. It’s a  cool concept and a great time with food vendors and music every year. Unfortunately this year I was on vacation while the festival took place, but my mom went and she got a picture of a very geeky section of the wall.

Photo by Tara Noftsier at http://dragonbug.com/

Photo by Tara Noftsier at http://dragonbug.com/

Movie Review: World War Z

world war z

I enjoy a good zombie movie every now and then so when I heard World War Z was on the horizon I was curious and with Brad Pitt the lead actor I was more than willing to go and see the movie. I haven’t read the book, but I heard that it wasn’t necessary to enjoy the movie so Chris and I headed to the theater last week on a rainy Friday afternoon.

Brad Pitt plays Gerry Lane who used to work for the U.N. as an investigative journalist (read spy?), in a way it kind of felt like a continuation of his character from Spy Game (which I LOVE!!!). Gerry’s wife didn’t like how dangerous his work was, so when they had kids, she convinced him to give it up. Now he makes breakfast and drives the family to work and school. On the way to their respective places one morning, a zombie plague breaks out and the world goes to hell in a handbasket (I always thought it was HOUND basket fyi, and could never figure out what puppies had to do with hell or a basket. Though handbasket doesn’t make much more sense and Google isn’t particularly enlightening). Miraculously, because of his experience, Gerry gets his family out of harms way and they are rescued by a guy that Gerry used to work for at the U.N. Now Gerry must head out into the zombie infested world to find the point of origin of the infestation to find a cure or his family will be kicked it out of their safe spot aboard an aircraft carrier.

I really liked Pitt’s character, I thought Gerry was smart and courageous and used his intellect to survive. I liked the filming of the movie it was really well done. The pacing was excellent and I bit my knuckles and turned my face into Chris’ shoulder a time or two or five. But on the other hand it felt like the studio had a zombie script lying around and when World War Z (the book) became popular, they dusted it off, changed a few names, and got Brad Pitt to play a pivotal role and were like voila here ez zee movee!  It ez zee book vee svar! Chris read the book and felt like some of the pacing was off and a lot of the events played rather quickly, making it not so much like the book as a just another zombie movie.

I’m also a little tired of drama points in stories which are centered around stupidity. In a real zombie apocalypse the stupid people die. That is all. It is honestly the only reason I kind of hope for such a thing to happen. I liked Gerry because he wasn’t stupid, but he sure was surrounded by stupid. I can set aside my disbelief for one or two plot twist which save the stupid, but not every. single. stupid. time. It was extremely frustrating to me. To top it all off, there were a lot of cliches that happened and when people started talking at the screen I was silently cheering them on, though I generally hate when people talk at the theater.

An interesting zombie movie that takes some concepts from the book and runs around wildly with them, World War Z is entertaining if frustrating film.

Movie Review: The Paperboy

the paperboy

When I tell people about this movie and start out with, it stars Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, and Zac Efron, they look at me like I am crazy. Well, I’m not the one who cast this movie you all. Sheesh guys. Which is probably a good thing, because though its an odd crew, and a really odd story everyone plays their roles superbly, to my astonishment. John Cusack plays Hillary Van Wetter, an imate on death row who corresponds with Nicole Kidman’s character, Charlotte Bless. She’s determined to get him off of death row, convinced he didn’t kill the sheriff (nor the deputy, sorry, I couldn’t help it!) and she enlists the help of Ward Jansen, played by Matthew McConaughey. Along with his writing partner, they set up an office in Ward’s hometown and hire his younger brother, Jack Jensen (Zac Efron), as their driver while they try to track down witnesses and alibis.

The story is told from the perspective of Anita Chester (Macy Gray) who worked as the Jensen’s housekeeper the summer of ’69 when the events of the story took place. She acts as narrator and assures the people interviewing her that the book they are fact checking is just a story, she knows what really happened. Of course this is from her perspective, and the story becomes more an more ambiguous as her narration is less and less reliable and the characters delve into the crazy and the secrets. Though ostensibly a murder mystery, it is really a coming of age story of Jack’s character who watches the adults in his life spiral downward. He falls in love with Charlotte even though she is clearly more than a little off her rocker (which, to be fair, she never keeps from him) and is in love with one of the creepiest characters I have seen in a long while. Anita acts more as his mother and older sister than she does his family’s housekeeper and the two share a strange relationship as Jack clings to his childish ways, walking around the house in his underwear constantly for example, and Anita pushes him to grow up a bit.

And in one paragraph I’ve explained this movie far more coherently than the movie explains itself. The plot and the people are into utter chaos and movement and feelings, expressions of beliefs, revelations of character, that only really gels at the last moment of screen play. I really liked the chaos of the movie, it felt like we had been thrown into a wild summer, a period of time when the crazy happened to these people, we see them at their worse and their best. We see mutual self masturbation from Kidman and Cusack as their characters meet for the first time. Zac Efron has clothing on far less then the amount of time he spends in  his underwear or swim trunks. McConaghey’s character has some interesting twists and we see him in some compromising situations that seem the less absurd of all of them. Alligators, swamps, and hillbillies with shotguns are integral to the story and add to the strange and wonder that is this movie.

Anthony Qunn in his review writes:

It’s the sort of film if you saw by accident you’d think, “What the —-?”, and perhaps feel a bit disgusted. But you wouldn’t budge from your seat.

He’s right. I watched this movie with Chris over the phone (even though my Netflix kept going out, which was SOOOO annoying) because we saw who was in it and we were intrigued. Neither of us had a clue what the movie was even about or the truly bizarre places it was going to go. Even though seeing Zac Efron walk around in his whitey tighties was a bit uncomfortable, because in my head he’s forever 16 (though in real life he’s a decade older than that) we couldn’t turn away. Not even when Netflix crashed on me at a truly confusing moment in the movie. I just sat there cursing the television screen and screeching about how unfair life was. Damnit! I wanted to watch the train wreck.

Movie Review: Safety Not Guaranteed

I’m a huge fan of Parks and Recreation. I love Leslie Knope and her motley crew. I think Amy Poehler is one of the most fantastic persons that exists right now and I want to have her babies (except as she is married and able to have her own, not sure she’ll take me up on that offer). I’m also in love with April, played by Aubrey Plaza. I’ve seen interviews with her and she is one strange duck. I love it! I’m obsessed. (Aubrey is interesting in the next video, the interviewer gets a little creepy. Not gonna lie.)

I’m also in love with Nick from New Girl. I love that character! He’s charming, sensitive, and obtuse all at the same time. Just a really great character! Jake Johnson does such a great job playing this role, I love his chemistry with Zooey Deschnel. And lo, what do I see on Netflix? A movie with two of my favorite actors!

safety not guranteed

Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel. (Synopsis from IMD)

Aubrey, who plays Darius, steals the show in this indie comedy flick. She plays an intern to Nick (sorry, that’s who he will always be in my mind, and honestly, his character isn’t that much different) along with the Arnau who is a rather stereotypical plot character for some comedy relief and who comes out of his shell just in time to say a couple of important lines. Nick actually has a decent subplot in this movie too. While he pitches to his boss (whom he slept with) that he wants to go and check out this crazy ad in the newspaper about a time traveler, in reality he wants to go back to the town he spent his summers as a teenager to find a girl he once knew. He does find her, but she’s not a skinny 18 year old any more, and Nick’s journey is one of coming to an understanding of the person he is and whether or not he likes that person.

Mark Duplass is both lead actor, playing Kenneth the time traveler, and he is also a producer of the film. Throughout most of the movie the audience is left to wonder whether or not this guy is for real or just crazy. But that space time traveling stuff isn’t even important. The real story is Darius and Kenneth’s relationship. According to IMDB the movie was written with Aubrey in mind, and it is a beautiful part for her personality, a little dark, clever, and with several moments of vulnerability. Neither Kenneth nor Darius trust other people much, and they spend the film creating a strong bond and learning to care about and rely on another person. I quite enjoyed this sweetly dark and funny film.