Saturday, March 31, 2007

I Am an Unabashed Will Arnett Fangirl

Let's Go to Prison was supposed to show the world as a whole that Will Arnett was the funniest man on the planet. But, it wasn't very good,* and no one went to see it, and the genius that is Will Arnett remained hidden to everyone except those who worshiped Arrested Development. That's okay. Because along came Blades of Glory. Ostensibly, Blades is Will Ferrell and Napoleon Dynamite-- I mean, Jon Heder's show, and as unlikely as it may seem, Will Arnett and Amy Poehler totally steal said show. Between skating to Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch's "Good Vibrations," laying on a bearskin rug, and just being all out over the top ridiculous, Will Arnett was clearly the audience favorite during the 8:15 show at the Grove.

The film itself was funny - not in the same league as Anchorman or Zoolander, though. There are some lapses in logic/abandoned plot threads that you're willing to overlook in the name of being entertained, and I don't particularly think that Jon Heder is funny, but he didn't invoke anger in me the way that he did in Napoleon Dynamite. And sure, the two are funny in that "oh man they are acting so gay - not that there's anything wrong with that" sort of way. But Will Arnett and Amy Poehler (and to an extent, Jenna Fischer - who, I must say, looked totally hot) were just so wonderfully over the top and inappropriate, they easily stole the show. An ice skating routine dramatizing the relationship between Marilyn and JFK? So beautifully absurd. And incest, when played by a real life husband and wife, is just funny.

*It did have a few extremely funny moments. Will Arnett singing "Move This" definitely qualifies, as does... okay that was it. Will in general was quite funny. Dax Shepard? Eh... not so much.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I once heard the main theme from True Romance in a commercial. I recognized it, but I couldn't recall from where I recognized it. This drove me absolutely crazy, especially because the playful xylophone-filled tune doesn't scream True Romance. I racked my brain for quite some time trying to figure out where I had heard the music before until it hit me one day at dinner and with a mouth full of chicken I triumphantly shouted, "True Romance!" The rest of my family was a bit confused. But I was happy. The feeling of accomplishment I got from figuring it out was quite good. And I think that's why I liked Zodiac so much. Although it isn't really comparable with regard to scale, I could completely identify with Robert Graysmith and his insatiable desire to find out who the Zodiac Killer was.

Yes, the movie is long. IMDB tells me it is 158 minutes. However, it does not feel that long. It is incredibly suspenseful in parts and genuinely looks like a film from the 1970s. It's substantially funnier than one might expect. The acting was fantastic all around, and only once did my mind wander and imagine Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo making out. Just kidding. Kind of. But flights of fancy aside, Zodiac is a smart, tense thriller that is haunting in its open-ended-ness. Go see it instead of wasting your time with 300.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Musical Memories

It's amazing how one song or album can bring you so vividly back to a place. I first discovered the Arcade Fire shortly before my trip to Cannes last year. I was flying all by myself, and after I had exhausted the possibilities of the inflight video on demand entertainment system (which was actually quite good), it was time for the iPod. I listened to Funeral. And I listened to it again. And again.

And when I heard "Wake Up" on Lauren's mix CD the other day, it was a crazy flashback. No longer was I in a rental car heading east on the 10. I was sitting in the Paris airport, waiting to board a flight to Nice, filled with equal parts excitement and fear. I was relaxing in a bunk bed, writing mini-reviews of the three movies I had seen earlier that day. I was sitting on the balcony at 4 AM, trying to sober up and squeeze in a few hours of sleep before I headed out for the next day's 8 AM screening. Damn, I had a good time.

I wish I could go back this year.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Let's Go to Prison... or not.

One of the perks of my internship is free DVDs. Basically, all the studio's new releases are delivered on Tuesday and the marketing department takes what they want, starting with the execs and ending with the interns if there is anything left by then. Last week, it was only Magnum, P.I., which I politely declined. This week... jackpot. In a way.

Let's Go to Prison.

I would not buy this movie. I even felt guilty putting the monthly cost of my Netflix subscription towards it. But free? I'll take it!

So I watched it.

I wouldn't go so far as to say it was a waste of time, and after all, there is something alluring about a free DVD but... I think disappointed is the best word for it. After all, Bob Odenkirk + Will Arnett + a couple of Reno 911/The State writers seems like an awesome combination. But... it isn't. I definitely laughed, specifically at Will Arnett. Specifically at him singing "Move This." Oh dear lord can that man spin gold from straw. Hopefully Blades of Glory will end the string of bad movies he's made post-Arrested Development (although to be completely honest, I don't think it will), but even if it doesn't, he's sure to be the bright spot in it.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

P-p-p-p-p-p-p-lease, Eddie!

One of the things I've been doing at work is compiling a list of film-related websites. While working on that task, I found this article:

Who Delayed Roger Rabbit?

I love Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It's quite possibly one of my favorite movies of all time, and the above article is incredibly interesting. It also explains why Roger Rabbit seems to have such a small presence at the Disney theme parks. Anyway, it's worth a read if you have any interest in the film.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Movies in Brief, Volume 2

The latest movie reviews I don't particularly feel like devoting an entire entry to:

Factory Girl

Here's the thing about Factory Girl: it suffered from pretty lackluster buzz, its most recognizable star was Jimmy Fallon (which isn't necessarily a bad thing), and it had Sienna "the biggest thing I've done in my career is Jude Law" Miller in the title role. But it didn't really suck. It had some problems, but overall, it was actually a pretty good movie. Sienna Miller did a fantastic job. And on a shallow note - which, I have to add, almost all my "movie reviews" have, and that makes me a little sad, because I'm really not shallow - Hayden Christensen was a very sexy Bob Dylan - oh wait, excuse me, "Billy Quinn." Oh! I almost forgot to add: Two members of the Velvet Underground are played by Weezer bandmembers Pat and Brian. Weezer lives!

Half Nelson
I got this movie from Netflix right before the Oscars, and I was determined to watch it before the ceremony. That didn't work, but since the Oscars end at 9:30 on the West Coast, I popped it in as soon as I got home from the Oscar party I attended. Oh man. I was completely blown away. The film was incredible, and Ryan Gosling really did give a great performance. If only half the people who have seen him in The Notebook would give this film a chance...

Howl's Moving Castle
Not quite as good as Spirited Away, but still quite good. I started watching it in Japanese with subtitles - and I don't have a problem with subtitles - until I remembered that Batman himself, Christian Bale, voiced Howl. So it was to dubbed in English I went.

Badlands had been on my to-see list for quite some time now - I adore films of the 1970s. It is an odd little movie. It's a movie about a killer, but there's not a lot of violence, and most of the film relies on narration from Sissey Spacek, which seems to go against every screenwriting rule you've been taught, and there are lots of gorgeous, lingering nature shots. Of course, it actually works, because Terrance Malick is an extremely talented director and because directors were able to get away with weird stuff like that 35 years ago. And I have to say, I was quite impressed by Martin Sheen in this movie.

However, the most notable thing about this movie, for me, is the main theme. It's a seemingly uncharacteristic melodic/percussive piece that was paid homage to by Hans Zimmer for the score of True Romance, a similar seemingly uncharacteristic film. Some time ago, I heard this theme in a commercial or movie trailer or something, and nearly jumped out a window because I simply could not remember where it had come from. I eventually did remember that it was from True Romance and in turn Badlands and then I was happy. But that was one of those things that made my brain hurt for a few days...

Infernal Affairs
As you probably know, Infernal Affairs is a Hong Kong action film that was remade as The Departed, one of my favorite films in recent memory. both films have the same basic plot - a cop undercover with the mob and a dirty cop with ties to the mob are both assigned to find themselves and are trying to find each other. Chaos and much violence ensue. While I'm partial to The Departed, Infernal Affairs is a great, entertaining movie in its own right.

The major difference between Infernal Affairs and The Departed is the running time - Infernal Affairs moves so quickly, it's about an hour shorter than The Departed. This is not to say that The Departed moves slowly; Infernal Affairs just moves at that much of a breakneck pace.

Ok, so it's a British TV series, not a film, and I've already devoted an entire post to it. But I finally finished the whole series and it really is brilliant. However you can get your hands on it, do so. And hope that they eventually see how lucrative a region 1 release would be. Also, I really wanted to share this exchange:
Daisy: How you feeling this morning?
Tim: Very rough, actually. I swear to god that I will never drink again... until lunchtime.
Daisy: Very wise.
Tim: So, how's it feel to be 26?
Daisy: Hmmm... a bit gassy.
Tim: Well, gettin' old. You'd be dead in 4 years if this was Logan's Run.
Daisy: Ugh, that'd be terrible.
Tim: I know, I look like a twat in a jumpsuit.
Daisy: Don't say that, Tim. That's a horrible word that hates women.
Tim: What, twat?
Daisy: No, jumpsuit.
Hee. It also earns points for Tim's pure unadulterated hatred of The Phantom Menace and (nerd alert) the use of the original Ewok song. Oh, yeah, and I met the director. ;)