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Friday, August 28, 2009

Post Grad

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Goolphipp Award: 3.1 (Worth 11 Bucks)


Post Grad is not Gilmore continued. Although, it has the same tendencies – the quirky family, young adult, cute love interest, and underlying messages. This movie delivered what it had, but it just wasn’t really anything more. It didn’t surprise me or disappoint me. We follow Ryden, a fresh out of the gown college graduate, on her search for life after college. She wants a career, but learns there is more to life than a job.

I didn’t expect much, so it didn’t let me down. It was a cute movie. Is what it is. Good performances from the crazy Malby family. Loved Carol Burnett as the grandma, and I loved all the randomness. I just wish Alexis Bledel would stretch her wings a bit more. Try something different.

Goolsby overall: 3.25
Good pick-me-up, but only slightly memorable.

This movie was ok. You can watch it with your high school kids. It was light and fun.

I’m always drawn to these sort of movies, where people are trying to sort out their lives. But it all boils down to one essential question: what really matters in your life? Most of these movies tap into the theme of dissatisfaction with the American dream. The idea that if you have a high-powered job that everything else will fall into place, and you’ll be happy. And, as most of the working class has found out, it don’t buy happiness. Post Grad does address this question…and Ryden finally figures it out after a series of idiotic moves.

Carol Burnett was seriously fun. I wish we saw more of her in films. One phrase: coffin race cars.

I agree with Goolsby, fun but not too memorable. Average.

Phipps overall: 3
Belt buckles and blow-up furniture don’t buy happiness.

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Goolphipp Award: 4.75 (No Peanuts Chucked)

This movie got the best of me. I wanted something that just didn’t happen – and I knew it wouldn’t happen. I wanted a perfect little bow, but I knew all along that I wouldn’t get it. This movie is about a boy with Asperger syndrome. Boy meets girl, and they both learn more than they thought they ever would. This movie was about courage and growth, and I appreciated that even though there was a romantic plot line – that it developed the more meaningful plot into full bloom.

Hugh Dancy gave a stellar performance. Down to the hand movements, and the layered train of thought we get to see him go through. Amazing performance. The supporting cast was awesome as well. Everyone came together to give us a beautiful story. Now lets all hope we have the same courage Adam does.

Goolsby overall: 4.5

I loved this movie. I thought it was sensitive and real. As someone who has grown up with an Autistic family member, I so appreciated Hugh Dancy’s performance. I think it was accurate – down to even the most subtle hand movement.

I appreciated the love story that didn’t turn out the way we planned, but was really for the best. I loved how we saw how it changed the characters lives. It reminded me of real life, of how events and people push us to be better, to try new things.

I can't really say much more about it, simply because you must see it. This is one of those movies I’ll hold close to my heart.

Phipps overall: 5
Real. Sweet. Funny. Heartbreaking. Inspiring.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

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Goolphipp Award: 2.25 (See the Cheap Matinee)

Why do they make movies that are geared for kids PG-13? This movie was not for adults, it failed to keep me entertained or interested. I could see how kids could be entertained by it, but I just about gave up half way through. The only reason I half watched was because of a surprise Joseph Gordon-Levitt who plays "The Doctor." Of course I must also mention Channing Tatum. The more I think about it, I think that the actors were lured in by their own boyhood memories. I think most people over 20 will go see it because of its nostalgia aspect.

The whole thing was just too much CG for me to handle. If money was the issue they should have made their sets smaller, covered less expansive and useless "cool" shots, and focused on delivering some real stuff. If you're going to do a completed CG movie, than do it, don't try to mix one part live action, with fifteen parts CG - its bound to end up looking like a Bedazzled giant sloth. Poor movie. It had potential, and was ruined. The plot was well thought out, flowed fine, but ruined by the over use of the green screen.

As far as violence goes - it was fine. I think adult fighting is okay, but there were some kid-on-kid fighting scenes that I think would be a bad influence on the kiddies. Other than that, I only noticed one or two curse words. The lead female was of course put in tight tight clothing, unnecessary again. Bah. Bah. Bah. This movie needed to make up its mind. Adult or kid, not this mix-n-match stuff. I mean look at the toys! This is for kids, but yet compiled and rated PG-13. Weird, a toy Channing Tatum and Gordon-Levitt. Welcome to the world of plastic forever. Ugh. Thank you Joseph Gordon-Levitt for keeping me awake.

Goolsby overall: 2.5
No excuses. Try harder next time.

I was super excited for this movie. Action, action, action. I dismissed the speculation about GI Joe's lack of critical review, because I've known many movies that are actually better than the critics think. Here's the breakdown:

1) The storyline of the movie was great. I've got no complaints. Non-stop action. It was generally fun without being cheesy or cliche.

2)I I was okay with the casting and performances. Channing Tatum has always done well in action sequences, and because this was basically non-stop was nice to see him in his element. Dennis Quaid's strut was a little strange, but I expect that was a nod to the show that went over my head. Sienna Miller always plays the mean girl perfectly. And well, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is just having a stellar summer.

3) I was okay with the outfits. I was okay with the occasional corny line. After all, for all intents and purposes, this is a superhero movie - certain things are expected and allowed.

4) I was not okay with all the CGI-ing. When you CG an air craft carrier - which included no special gadgets or action shots, you lose my good graces. That was the big example, but there were tons of little things that were fakey looking. I suppose the film-makers just didn't take the time to figure out how to integrate CG and real stuff a la Lord of the Rings style. The big fly CGI spoiled the whole experience. Miniatures, people!

5) As Goolsby said, the kid-on-kid action was unexpected and a little disconcerting. I would want any kids to be 10+ when they see then they should know that hitting other kids is no bueno.

Close, but no cigar. I'd definitely advise to see the cheap showing on the big screen...I think this movie will look abnormally lame on your TV if you wait for DVD.

Phipps overall: 2
Gosh, try filming with miniatures next time.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

(500) Days of Summer

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Goolphipp Award: 4.6 (No Peanuts Chucked)

Despite 500 being completely upfront about the lack of love story, I was still kind of depressed afterward. But that's me, and my movie preference showing. I want sunshine and roses at the end...not a possible high of 75.

That being said, I do have to admit that 500 was charming. It was real, too, even with all the dancing and Han Solo sightings. I do have to appreciate a film that can present a relationship with both sides - the good and the ugly - equally and honestly. I liked that Tom and Summer weren't extraordinary in any way from the average human. Heck, their relationship developed much like any other - over days and weeks. None of this fall-into-the-sack stuff. It felt natural, and it was easy to identify with them. It was kinda nice seeing a boy freak out about a girl without being emasculated in the process.

I was charmed by Gordon-Levitt and found myself wanting to be on the receiving end of some of those looks. And of course, everybody wants to be a Zooey Deschanel clone. The supporting cast was also perfect, which allowed for Summer and Tom to shine.

I thought the use of days was ingenious. In fact, I thought the set-up of the entire film was ingenious. The end may not have been my cup of joe, but I can't deny the ingenuity and charm.

Phipps overall: 4.5
Like I said...can't deny the ingenuity and charm.

(500) Days of Summer was refreshing. I loved the concept of the love story – or lack of love story. From the get go, a narrator says “This is not a love story.” Pay attention and don’t expect something else. The plot moves back and forth between the early days of their relationship to the end days. You would think this could be confusing, but it was done seamlessly. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays the loveable greeting card writer Tom, lets his subtle facial expressions sway the audience. There was also a neat role reversal that I appreciated. Soft emotional boy meets the independent woman. I still can’t decide who I relate to more, Tom or Summer. I liked the feeling of being split between the two characters – usually I relate to one character more than the other.

This movie also included various movie spoofs. I love it when movies incorporate and play off of other movies. From the Enchanted based choreographed post-sex dance (with the cartoon blue bird to boot) to the Han Solo reflection. Classic all the way. And very, very appreciated and well received.

And who doesn’t want to be Zooey Deschanel? Jealous. I love her quirky nature. The whole movie was quirky, but done in this amazing way. There is this scene where a split screen is used to show reality and expectations – it was heart wrenching and awesome at the same time.

We saw this movie last night and I’m still smiling about it. What I really liked about the movie is that it is not a love story. The real basis is about coincidence. Life is just a string of random moments and people. I relate to Tom. He’s found himself at a job and point in his life that favors indifference more than anything. There’s a turning point in the movie when Tom erases this chalkboard wall, and draws his future. That is the biggest pull in this movie.

Goolsby overall: 4.75
Draw your own future and make your own coincidences - that’s why I loved it so much.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Public Enemies

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Goolphipp Award: 3 (Worth 11 Bucks)

First point – empty theaters are the best places to view movies like Public Enemies. We were in a showing with only 2 other people. This means we exchanged banter basically through the whole movie.

Second point – we exchanged banter through the whole movie, because we were both so frustrated and confused with the filming style. This movie can’t make up its mind. You’ve got your artsy epic shots that take up too much time. I’m okay with a few key shots that highlight an actor’s delivery or the action, but this was absurd. There were grainy shots for no reason at all. What was the worst thing was the shaky cinematography. Phipps said something like Blair Witch Project, so I’m stealing her line. It was horrible. I never forgot about it until the last 10 minutes of the film. Since we were basically in an empty theater, I caught myself holding out both my hands trying to steady myself. So distracting. You got to wonder what the director Michael Mann was thinking?

Third point – filming took away from the awesome deliveries. Depp brings in a winner again. And could his hair be any more awesome? Swoon. Maria Cotillard, who played Billie Frechette, was amazing as well. She closed the movie, and that scene was perfect. The whole cast was amazing. And random Leelee Sobieski, where has she been?
And on a final note – the one thing I did like about the cinematography was the color hue. It fit well into the period with the round browns and warm colors.

Oh oh oh, how could I forget this! The scene in which Dillinger (Depp) walks into the police station... it was the greatest thing I've seen in a long time. Loved it.

Goolsby overall: 3
Loved everyone's hair.

This film was a big-budget, period piece modeled after the Blair Witch Project. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a hit, like its predecessor. I was completely distracted by the cinematography the ENTIRE time. I think it was worse than Pitof’s Catwoman, and that’s saying something.

And that is a crying shame, because all the performances were spectacular. I was equally drawn to both protagonists, John Dillinger and Melvin Purvis. Depp pulls off the likeable thief - charming me with his half smiles. Bale, of course, is always stellar as the smart, squeaky clean lawman. Everyone got to see that Channing Tatum could realistically die on screen, which further builds his repertoire.

All the historical junk looked authentic…as far as a layman is concerned. It was weird to see the police action without the use of walkies and vests. I'm glad I live in the age of S.W.A.T.

Public Enemies had all the right pieces, but someone let us down in the sound and cinematography, and I’m going bet it’s the director, Michael Mann. Mr. Mann, shame on you for robbing some people of Oscar nods.

Wait for the DVD, folks, and don’t forget the Dramamine.

Phipps overall: 3
Giving it a 3, simply because the performances deserve the world. Could have easily been a 5, Mr. Mann.

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