Zchill in his natural habitat; animation.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Whip It

I know, save your hate mail--I am reviewing a "chick flick," but in my defense, this isn't some crappy Kate Hudson-JLO-Jennifer Aniston catastrophe; this was a pretty pleasant coming of age story a la Superbad or Adventureland, but told from the perspective of and with a target audience of women.

What I liked: Ellen Page carried this movie, and did it while being super-cute too. I don't normally find her all that attractive: I did think she was cute in X-Men 3, but she was too sarcastic/pregnant to be cute in Juno. That being said she succeeds at playing the teenager finding herself, and does it without making it sound as contrived as my summation of her role. Daniel Stern did a really good job of playing the dad who, while he loves his daughters dearly, I'm sure, wishes that he had a son.

What I didn't like: The bitter aftertaste. The story was told in a way that you knew where it was going, but the characters are likable enough that you're down for the ride. But after you think about what made it good, it falls apart. The same thing happened with Avatar for me. I enjoyed the movie, and don't think 3D has been better presented, but the story was, well... overused. It's like driving a brand new car with the engine of a model T. Wow it looks shiny and new, but doesn't it run a little slowly? Haven't I seen this movie before? Sad times. It didn't bug me while watching, but it does now.

A coming of age story to recommend more than this? With a sports spin? And a predominately female cast?

*crickets chirping*

Okay so I'm gonna have to bite the bullet here. Mash up A League of Their Own with Juno and you've got yourself this movie here. Juno to me, while enjoyable was a bit forgettable, but that's a pretty good coming of age tale and that's what the storyline in Whip It really was. My personal opinion of Juno is that it is too clever for its own good. The story is solid and the cast is great, but it just seemed too hip and too cool. So while everyone was going ballistic praising it I couldn't help but feel that this movie is too much in the now, using phrases that nobody ever uses ("Honest to blog?" Really?) but still has a modern feel to it. That was my problem: it doesn't feel timeless and I don't think it will stand the test of time. That being said Juno is better made than Whip It... so long as you watch it within the next 5 years or so.

And of course I can't really forget to mention the other great coming of age story for dudes: Superbad. Yeah it's crass and offensive, but that's how guys talk. My friends would speak that way in middle school all the time. No joke. Having a movie written by some 40 year old screen writer who tries to make dialogue sound young has been done before. It's a hard R for language because that's how male teenagers are. I can understand why that might be a reason why some people didn't like the movie, but so long as little boys are offensive this will remain timeless. Whip It, and/or Juno didn't grab me the same way but I still think that they are both good movies in their own ways.

Agree? Disagree? Have I missed a movie? I'm always down for watching a movie folks. Let me know what the best coming of age stories for females are. I don't think it's readily available right now. (*heh* Secretary just popped in my mind, but I don't know if that would count)

Until next time folks!

The End

But Zchill will return in Zchill 2: The Revenge of the Subtitle

Saturday, July 24, 2010

In Bruges and Ground Rules.

"Hey Zchill I read the title, what gives?"

Listen random voice in my head representing my imaginary audience, I can't go around watching movies in theaters all the time. I'm not made of money. Instead, I'm going to be reviewing movies that I rent and since I just rented In Bruges that's the movie I'm blogging about (Deal with it!). Furthermore, I'm going to get pretty eclectic in what I review to match my taste in movies. If you don't like it go to another movie blog.

Are we all good now? Okay...

With all the complaints out of the way, I did rent In Bruges, since I had never seen it before, and honestly enjoyed it. It's a dark British comedy and it makes Colin Farrell sympathetic. Which is quite a feat for such a douchebag. It's like making Dane Cook likable. Personal tangent aside, it's hard to place why the movie is funny, or really to classify it's style of humor, it's dark certainly, but the situations the characters get themselves into seem natural and the humor derives from how surreal the situation is Ralph "Voldemort" Fiennes is actually funny-- not something you would expect from someone primarily known for being intense like Schindler's List or The English Patient-- and along with Colin Farrell acting like he's not a douche, (I don't mean to rag on the guy, but come on), makes for an enjoyable movie There was a movie in the same vein released a few years ago called You Kill Me starring Ben Kingsley, which has a pretty similar story, but something about In Bruges clicks where You Kill Me falls short. I'm going to call that "something" the story, in both movies you have an assassin/hitman who goes through personal troubles (funny!) and tries to cope with them. Ben Kingsley was really the only good thing about the movie-- the rest is entirely forgettable. Watch In Bruges and skip You Kill Me.

Assassin/hitman comedy -- is that a genre now? I think it might be, let's see Grosse Point Blank would definitely be in the same family. Further, wasn't A Shot in the Dark about killing gone wrong? I looked it up and it doesn't quite fit as the main character is looking for the murderer, but comedy + murders = it's inclusion here.

Finally, I love it when movies references good films! It saves me from having to reference them, but here goes.

A Touch of Evil: One of the characters is watching the famous tracking shot on TV-- a must see.

Star Wars: Certainly doesn't need my help. Moving on...

Time Bandits: A really fun Terry Gilliam film. This one deserves a watch.

Sunset Blvd: Not an all out reference per se, but when you use a device that has been coined in this movie, you can't not draw the comparison.

If you recognize the cast, most of them are in the Harry Potter movies-- apart from Colin Farrell, who, to be fair, I haven't given him much of a chance since what I have seen him in hasn't been good.

I should be getting my new movie in the mail in a few days, but in the meantime, I think I have a few streaming movies to watch (legally via Netflix) whose license to stream expires soon. Look forward to that.

Here's where I pretend to almost forget to tell you about the blog ground rules. And there it went.

1: I don't want this to be a traditional movie review sites, they are a dime a dozen. I'll tell you if I liked a movie I saw and why, but I'll give you movies that are similar to the one I am reviewing so that you will have an idea if you would like it or not.

2: Not everyone likes all movies, but I would like to prevent you from seeing crap when I can by suggesting what to watch-- ergo my watchthisnothat URL.

3: Then when I have enough readers, I want to use my patented mind control device to turn you into my slaves.

4: That last one was less of a rule, and more of an overarching plan for world domination.

Coming up next: Whip It!

Friday, July 23, 2010

*Spoiler Alert* Inception was Amazing

While this movie is getting overall positive reviews, I'm surprised when people don't like it. Of course, people are entitled to their opinions, but this really was a great film. You have the concept (which is phenomenal and very original), the acting (I guess everyone who worked on the film was nominated for an oscar for acting (seriously look it up (no wait I was lying, don't do that, but the acting was great (also what's the limit for parenthesis inside parenthesis, can I do this? (It's my blog I can do what I want))))), the special effects (both practical and digital; Nolan's old school), and of course, all the technical parts about the movie nobody really notices except if you know to look for them: sound, lighting, cinematography, writing, score! Nitpick all you want about the minor details-- dream logic and possible plot holes and the like-- but you have a lot of people all being very talented and producing something amazing, which is a rarity nowadays.

Okay, I think it's safe to say I have a man crush on Christopher Nolan. Hopefully my girlfriend is okay with this.

I can honestly say that I recommend this movie more than any other movie this summer -- except Toy Story 3. Go see that too.

Now let's expand our range outside of this summer and go into the Netflix arena: if you like this story and it was intriguing and you debated over the ending, I would recommend Brazil for people who didn't like ambiguity and Memento for those that did. If you dig the love story go see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. If you want to see Leonardo DiCaprio be pretty much the same character go see Shutter Island. And of course, if you want spectacle and story go see The Matrix, but don't expect the same caliber of acting. And finally I guess if you want to see a similar concept but in more of a horror see Identity, but that's for amateurs only, and should not be considered a real recommendation from this site.

"But wait Zchill, I really liked these actors and want to know what else they are good in."


Best movies from the cast of Inception:

Leonardo DiCaprio: The Departed, Catch Me if You Can

Joseph Gordon-Levitt: (500) Days of Summer, Brick, and if you're feeling up for it Mysterious Skin (not for the faint of heart).

Ellen Page: Juno (hurry, the dialogue's expiration date is fast approaching) Hard Candy, Whip It (haven't seen it but it's next on my list, if it's no good I'll be amending this).

And Marion Cotillard: Love Me if You Dare, she just hasn't been better than this, so you're only getting this one.

I now invite you to slam champagne bottles into your screen to commemorate the greatest blog ever being launched. Unless you're going to hold me responsible, in which case refrain (I can't afford the legal fees). Comments and debate are welcome! If you want to know my theory about the end of Inception hold your horses! I want to remain spoiler-free for a while longer.

Oh yeah, and don't see Salt this weekend, it looks like a generic movie star movie in a post movie star world. Go see Inception instead.

How do you end a blog?