Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Movies of March 2013

Another month, another bunch of bad movies to rip apart. Seriously is it May yet? I want my Star Trek! Anyways, March is slim pickings as usual.

Don't forget the process I follow to find these little gems of film making. I go to IMDB, find the list of films for a given month and watch the trailers for said films. Then start writing. If I leave anything off this list then it is absolutely not worth my time. Remember, I use my totally made up Hype Rating System (HRS) to discern how much I want to see or not see these movies. Level 1: I plan to see this movie in theaters and so should you! Level 2: I'll probably wait until post theatrical release to see this film (Netflix, Blu-Ray, osmosis). Level 3: I will never see this movie, not even for a cookie. Level 4: I don't want to see it, but the Wife is making me; nothing I can do about it, I signed a contract.

March 1:

Stoker - Level 2
Uncle Charlie looks like a f***ing werido! Also, why is this movie called Stoker? Don't get me wrong, I fully anticipated this to be another movie about vampires and was pleasantly surprised to find it's only about a mysterious quasi-incestuous uncle... that came out wrong.

21 and Over - Level 3
Scenario: kids go out to multiple parties to get drunk. Hollywood movie producers believe kids who like to go out to multiple parties and get drunk will want to see a movie about kids who go out to multiple parties and get drunk. Result: the producers make a lot of money because the sensibilities of people these days are disappointing.

The Last Exorcism Part II - Level 3
They really got my hopes up with The Last Exorcism. I mean, it was the last one right? You can't just call something "The Last..." if it's not the end right? You don't just tell someone "this is the last cookie", unless it's actually the last cookie! You may hear rumor from other readers here (The Wife) that I hate horror movies. I'll leave it up to you to determine the truth of that statement. I'll just be standing over here, in the crowded auditorium as the opening titles flash across the screen shouting "False Advertising!"

Jack the Giant Slayer - Level 2
Is this seriously a Jack and the Bean Stock movie or am I misinformed? Oh, well. I'm seriously on the rope about this one. On one hand it looks visually impressive. The giants look appropriately gigantic and filthy. While the standard fantasy set pieces are all in place and looking polished; I can't shake the feeling this will be 2013's John Carter (all beauty and no brains). Then again, I actually enjoyed John Carter for what it was.

Phantom - Level 2
Agent Mulder gets on a Submarine! Yay! I feel the tense submarine military drama is a little played out. I can only watch so many movies where 90% of the set location is in the confined space of a submarine. David Duchovny acting all Agent Mulder does get me going... But this only gets a level 2 because it claims to be based on real events; I am History nerd.

March 8:

Oz the Great and Powerful - Level 1
I have to see something this month! A month without movies is like that one time I ran without underware; all full of tension because one wrong move and things could get all... twisted. Anyways, when I first saw James Franco was in this movie, I was all, wut? Then I realized he is the perfect actor for a film where you escape the boredom of normal life by flying a hot air balloon into a tornado to travel to a colorful land full of witch's, munchkins, green cities and flying monkeys. Really all I want from Franco at this point, now that he has all the money in the world, is for him to put down the joint and get working on season two of Freaks and Geeks. That won't happen, because telling James to stop the pot is like telling me to stop the sarcasm. Oz will do I guess.

Dead Man Down - Level 3
I'm starting to get really bored with Colin Farrell. I mean you saw Fright Night right? He can smell your fear and now he's coming to get you! He suffers from the Clooney effect; he is the same person in every movie ever. The problem is he isn't nearly as likeable as George Clooney. This looks blah anyways. Also staring the chick from the original Dragon Tattoo movies and Prometheus, if that somehow would sway you.

March 15:

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone - Level 3
I often wonder why Steve Carell left The Office. One has to assume he meant to go on to bigger and better things. One would apparently be wrong, because Mr. Carell is now staring in this movie along side Jim Carry (another WTF happened actor). I just don't see how this will be funny. It has predictable written all over it. Also, is Alan Arkin in everything these days?

Upside Down - Level 2
Okay, you got me, I love bad science fiction. It makes me smile. But seriously, this is a bit much. What you're saying is these two planets are so close together in their orbits, that you can jump, yes jump, from one to the other and survive? No, bull crap. There is no way two celestial bodies of that similar of mass could orbit like that. I can suspend my disbelief for a lot of crap; artificial gravity, food replication, everything from the movie Armageddon, but this is just stupid and I won't have it. Well, I won't have it until Netflix, where I can mock in mercilessly from the comfort of my couch.

March 22:

Olympus Has Fallen - Level 2
I don't know what to say at this point. Action movie that blows up Washington D.C. as terrorists take the President hostage. Never seen that before. Even Morgan Freeman can't save this doomed action movie.

Admission - Level 1
Tina Fey and Paul Rudd star in a comedy about something? I'm in.

Spring Breakers - Level 3
You know what really grinds my gears? I'm watching the trailer for this film and everything is looking real normal. Some girls are desperate to on spring break, so they decide to get some fake guns and hold up a store or two. But they are nervous, so one says, to instill confidence in the others "Just pretend like it's a video game." Now I know the popular topic these days is how video games cause all this violence in the world. Video games are the problem, according to the news and to the government. I mean it is common knowledge that the Nazis were addicted to Donkey Kong. So it's only natural for Hollywood to go a head and toss video games under the bus as well by continuing the stereotype, because we all know Hollywood only makes good clean films about puppies and candy.

March 29:

G.I. Joe: Retaliation - Level 3
Oh man. You really want to hear what I have to say about this? Okay. You asked for it. I cannot begin to describe to you how dumb the first G.I. Joe movie was. I'm pretty sure it slipped me into a coma and stole my kidney when I watched it. Then I hear they are making a sequel. No, please have mercy on us! I hear they delayed this Retaliation almost a full year to make it 3D. Oh, I just dropped the bad word! 3D, you cantankerous, money sucking little whore; I knew it was only a matter of time before you raised your greasy head in 2013! I told you to get your stuff and go! So not only is G.I. Joe: Retaliation the sequel to an unforgivably bad "film", but they delayed its inevitable release to add 3D! No! No! Nooooooo! What would it take for me to see this movie? Nickolas Cage dressed as George Washington, wielding Excalibur in one hand and a diamond laden Super-Soaker full of moonshine in the other, riding an translucent velociraptor through the gates of Hell to slay a mighty hell-dragon. Call me when they add that to the movie and we'll talk.

The Host - Level 2
Just when you thought it was safe to go to the movies again, Stephanie Meyer writes another book and sells the rights to make it into a movie. Back to the shadows! Okay, fine I won't judge this based on my extreme dislike for Twilight. I'll just bash it because it really looks like just another teenage romance movie set in a science fiction/fantasy setting; love at first sight and all that other abusive relationship jazz. I give it Level 2 because I won't waste money at the theater for it, but I saw the first Twilight and I'll eventually see this because rule number one of any war is to know thine enemy.

The Place Beyond the Pines - Level 2
This looks pretty good. Bradley Cooper earned some dramatic credit with Silver Linings Playbook and he seems to be putting it to good use. Then we have Mr. Ryan Gosling. He is not so good. Just being honest, ever since I saw Drive, his acting makes me want to punch walls. That said, I am willing to give him one more chance, plus my crystal balls say this may end up in Best Picture Nominee territory come next February, which means The Wife will make me see it.

Tyler Perry's Temptation - Level 3
Anyone else really hope there is a twist at the end where Tyler Perry jumps out in drag? Me neither.

Starbuck - Level 2
This movie has nothing to do with Battlestar Galactica (old or new version) or coffee. What it does have to do with is a guy who donates to a sperm bank resulting in him fathering a ton of kids (533) who turn around and sue him. That sucks. Also, it's in French, but with English narration in the trailer, it's all very confusing.

Another month down. You have been warned...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Banner Saga: Factions - First Impressions

The Banner Saga: Factions is the online multiplayer component to the upcoming Strategy RPG (SRPG): The Banner Saga. Developed by Stoic, a fairly new indie developer comprised of some former Bioware devs, The Banner Saga was Kickstarted very successfully last year and is now on track to make a full release later this year. The Factions multiplayer portion of the game was released yesterday on Steam and is free to play for PC and Mac.

First thing I did when I got home yesterday was jump on Steam and get this sucker downloading. I have been craving a good Strategy RPG for a while now. It doesn’t help that everyone and their brother seems to be enjoying the crap out of the new Fire Emblem while I sit comatose in the corner lacking a 3DS entirely. But Stoic and The Banner Saga have come to save my poor ass. The single player campaign for The Banner Saga will cost money, and that is what I’m really looking forward to, but this online component is free and will do for now.

I had a very small amount of time to play the game, but what I did play touched me in all the special places. First, the art is stunning. It looks very much like a cartoon about Vikings with horns growing out of their heads, that I can play! How can that be bad? Everything is animated in this way, even the menu screens that usually get no mention in first impressions unless they are super awful. But they are great. The fluidity in which these animations run together is astonishing. I love a good art style in games more than good graphics in games and The Banner Saga delivers big time in this regard.

Factions starts out with a short cinematic and the Tutorial. The tutorial covers all the basics of combat and character customization. It’s pretty standard fare here. You have some units and as they fight, they gain renown for you. You use renown as general currency for things like recruiting new units and powering up your units when they can be promoted. The system has its own quirks, but anyone with a little SRPG background will be right at home as soon as the tutorial is done.

Once you finish the tutorial, you are free to customize your units and engage in battle with other players online either by Match Maker, or set up a private game with a friend. You’ll gain renown from these battles to use to further upgrade your units and recruit more. I played a few random games and found the overall system for matchmaking works reasonable well. It takes very little time to be paired with an opponent and in my limited time, it seemed to match people according to the power of their units. I cannot speak to how things are for more experienced players, but I never felt at a huge disadvantage for being new (The game came out yesterday for us peasants, but the Kickstarter backers have been playing for a week). My only gripe was the servers seemed to be a little unstable with some frequent drops. This is to be expected from day one of any multiplayer game however. It also helped that a dev from Stoic was chatting with people in the games chat channels apologizing for the hiccups.

With every free to play game, there is a store. I didn’t get too into it last night, but the basic fare seems to be cosmetic items and renown boosters. I have heard some people say you can buy straight power as well. I cannot verify these claims but that does invoke the dreaded pay to win mantra. I think the match maker probably sorts those people into the appropriate areas, so it may not be too big a problem.

The Banner Saga: Factions is free people. It has a full tutorial and free online multiplayer. It looks great and plays great. There is no reason for a fan of Strategy RPGs to not take a look. The Banner Saga single player campaign is due out later this year.

Throw a comment down below if you’d like to meet up for a battle or five.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Let’s Talk About The Oscars!

The Wife: The 85th Academy Awards will take place this evening. The Academy Awards, commonly referred to as “The Oscars,” serve as the most prestigious event of the film industry. Some may see award shows as a chance to just promote Hollywood snobbery, but I disagree. The Oscars are a time where art is celebrated. The event also showcases films that may not necessarily be “mainstream,” and with the Academy publicity more people can enjoy these great movies. If not for Academy buzz, I don’t think I would have even known that last year’s Best Picture winner, The Artist, existed, and The Artist has become one of my favorite movies! Click here to read our Best Picture Project review of The Artist.

As a movie buff, I absolutely love watching The Oscars. I enjoy seeing some of my favorite films of the year be recognized. It’s also nice to see the behind the scenes work that goes into the film industry be praised. The pageantry of the event is also captivating. I admit that my TV will be glued to E! most of the day to watch the live red carpet interviews and to see what everyone is wearing!

So, let’s get right down to it. I won’t share my entire Oscar ballot with you, but I can discuss the coveted award for this evening, Best Picture! Below, I will list all nominees, my take on each film, who I want to win and finally, which movie I think will capture the Academy Award! Be sure to check here later this week for a blog on the actual winners and the best/worst dressed of the evening!

The Nominees:

Amour: Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to view this film, pre-Oscars. So, sadly, I have no commentary to offer. It is on my list to watch at some point. Unless we are in for a surprise, I don’t think Amour will win Best Picture.

Argo: Talk about INTENSE! I felt completely un-relaxed while watching Argo, which is a film based on the rescue of six US hostages from Tehran, Iran during the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis. Directed by the oh so hot and talented, Ben Affleck, who also played the lead character, CIA operative Tony Mendez, Argo really delivered in terms of entertainment and intensity. From my understanding, Argo did take many liberties of the actual events of the rescue, such as the dramatic airport scene, but hey, it’s a movie. I don’t go to the movies for a full on history lesson. For a film that I knew the outcome of, I still found myself nervous and completely on the edge of my seat while watching Argo. I was uneasy and very much invested in the story. It’s hard to make a movie suspenseful when we already know the outcome. Affleck may not be the best actor I’ve ever seen, but he is a great director, and Argo proved that. I can’t believe the Academy snubbed him by not giving him a nomination in the Best Director category. In conclusion, Argo was a well-done movie. Like I said, it was intense. I feel like I actually sweat during the movie since it was so nerve-racking at points! For a movie to get me that emotionally involved is the mark of a good film. Personally, Argo was not my favorite of this year’s Best Picture nominees, but I think in comparison with the way previous award shows have gone and due to buzz, Argo will be this year’s Best Picture Winner! It will be a deserved victory as well. Side note: If Argo wins tonight I believe this will be the first time a film has won Best Picture without a Best Director nomination since Driving Miss Daisy!

Beasts of the Southern Wild: Another movie that is on my list that I have not yet scene. This is currently waiting in my Netflix mail-in queue. I just have to hurry up and mail in a movie I’ve held on to for far too long. Oops. Unless we are in for an upset, I do not think this film will win Best Picture.

Django Unchained: Do you ever go to movie not expecting much but then finding yourself completely blown away by how good it was? Well, that describes my Django Unchained experience! I am a fan of some of Tarantino’s work, especially Pulp Fiction. I was expecting to be semi-entertained by Django, and honestly I found myself questioning why this movie was even nominated for Best Picture. However, I ended up absolutely loving Django Unchained. It was a great story, very entertaining, well acted, and the musical score was incredible! It did have that Tarantino touch to it, and if you aren’t familiar with Tarantino’s work you really should check out some of his older movies like Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill. Django Unchained was quite funny as well. I didn’t expect to laugh that much before seeing the movie. Throughout the funny and bizarre moments, the movie does have an underlining serious tone that is harshly evident in many scenes. Just because it had some funny lines and the “Tarantino touch,” doesn’t mean that the viewer wasn’t left reeling from the horribleness that was the slave trade. Overall, I think Django Unchained really deserved its nomination. Christoph Waltz was fantastic in Django Unchained and deserved his Supporting Actor nomination as well. While I think Tommy Lee Jones could take that one for his work in Lincoln, I would cheer if Waltz ended up winning. I don’t think Django Unchained will win Best Picture, but it’s easily one of my favorites from this year’s nominees!

Les Miserables: As I type this blog post, I am currently listening to Anne Hathaway’s amazing rendition of the iconic song, “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables! As a lover of musical theatre, I was blown away by Les Miserables. I was familiar with both the story and songs before seeing Les Mis, but had never had a chance to see the live stage performance. Musicals can be hard to bring to the big screen, but Les Miserables delivered. It was powerful, beautifully acted and I really FELT for the characters. The singing was not perfect. I’ve heard far better musical scores from Les Mis, but the imperfections made the film all the more powerful. Through the slight imperfections, you really could feel the characters’ emotions in each scene. The story, which really touches on the human condition, really moved me. Redemption, love, sadness, happiness, peace…I got all of that from Les Miserables. All of the actors did a fantastic job. I was skeptical at first when I saw that Anne Hathaway was portraying Fantine, but she BLEW ME AWAY. She was incredible and I have to say if she doesn’t win her Supporting Actress award tonight, I will be a bit peeved. Hugh Jackman was amazing as well. Unfortunately he picked a bad year to give the performance of his life because I just don’t see him beating out Daniel Day Lewis (Lincoln) for Best Actor. Personally, Les Miserables is my pick for movie of the year. I would vote it as my Best Picture, but like I’ve said for other films, it will take an upset for this one to win. I do look for it to pick up other awards tonight though!

Life of Pi: Sadly this was on my list of movies to see this fall, but the holidays are so busy that I didn’t make it to the theatre for Life of Pi. I’ve heard it was a great movie from many people. As soon as it comes out on Blu-Ray, I intend to watch it. I did unfortunately get the ending spoiled for me thanks to someone on Facebook. Oops. However, I am still intrigued. As I’ve said several times, it’s going to take an upset to beat Argo, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Life of Pi does from all the positive reviews surrounding this movie

Lincoln: If you know me, you know I am huge history buff. Heck I even have a history degree to coincide with my communications and English degrees. (Ok, so I am a nerd and enjoyed school…don’t judge!) So naturally, I was super excited to see Lincoln. I have been fascinated by Lincoln’s presidency since I did my award winning social studies fair project on The Gettysburg Address in fourth grade. Like Argo, Lincoln does take liberties with the historical content. And like Argo, Lincoln is still a MOVIE, so if you want a pure history lesson read a book. Spielberg once again delivered with Lincoln. For a movie about the voting of an amendment, which many people would see as “boring,” Lincoln was really anything but. At times, I did find the movie to be a bit slow-paced, but that didn’t deter my enjoyment. Daniel Day Lewis was incredible as Lincoln. He looked the part and while I’ve obviously never seen honest Abe in real life, Lewis made me felt like he WAS Lincoln. His performance of Lincoln almost looked too easy, which is the mark of a good actor. However, it was Tommy Lee Jones that stole the show for me in this movie! Jones was fantastic and I’d be happy if he won Best Supporting Actor. With Lincoln, I think Lewis will pick up his third award for Best Actor. I also believe that if Argo doesn’t win that Lincoln has the best chance to pull the upset and win Best Picture.

Silver Linings Playbook: After several failed attempts to see this movie, I finally got to see Silver Linings Playbook last month and loved it! It was funny, emotional and just an overall great movie experience. Hollywood usually never “gets it right” when they touch on the issue of mental illness, but Silver Linings Playbook really captured the essence and rawness of the disease. Most people think someone mentally ill is just “crazy” thanks to past Hollywood stereotypes, but Silver Linings Playbook proved this incorrect. Bradley Cooper, who I’ve really only seen in comedies like The Hangover, was great. Unfortunately like Hugh Jackman, he picked the wrong year to have the performance of his life since I don’t see him winning Best Actor over Lewis. Jennifer Lawrence, on the other hand, looks to be the favorite to win Best Actress, and it will be a well-deserved victory if she captures the award! Lawrence was absolutely fantastic in Silver Linings Playbook. She was so good and so natural in her character that she almost stole the show for me. I love Lawrence as Katniss in The Hunger Games, but I am thrilled she took on the Silver Linings Playbook role to really showcase her acting chops and prove that she’s just not a bland, “teeny bopper” actress. In conclusion, Silver Linings Playbook is one of my favorite films from this list. I’d love it to win the big Best Picture award. While it most likely won’t, it should pick up other prizes tonight!

Zero Dark Thirty: Like Argo, Zero Dark Thirty was very intense. It didn’t have me on edge like Argo, but that’s because the pacing of Zero Dark Thirty was very different. It was slower paced, but the film’s conclusion really delivered and hit me emotionally. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should know that Zero Dark Thirty is a story of the post-911 search and capture of Osama Bin Laden. I was a junior in high school when the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks took place, so watching Zero Dark Thirty made me realize how much I had grown up and changed during the long time period that it took us to capture Bin Laden. I had never really thought of it like that before. It was almost as if I was reliving the past ten years. Watching the torture scenes in Zero Dark Thirty was very very VERY hard for me. I personally don’t agree with torture, so it was upsetting to watch. However, the torture scenes were necessary for the rawness and realness that Zero Dark Thirty delivered. Like with both Argo and Lincoln, of course this movie wasn’t totally historically accurate, but it was still a good movie. Jessica Chastain did a phenomenal job and her last scene (after they got Bin Laden) was extremely powerful for me. It was exactly how I felt when I saw that he was dead. It wasn’t celebratory. It was a sad, emotional moment. It reminded me of everything that was lost (deaths, etc.) to catch this one man. Chastain nailed that scene and I could see her challenging Jennifer Lawrence for the Best Actress award. While I give the edge to Argo in terms of my personal preference, Zero Dark Thirty hit me more emotionally. I believe that’s because the events it was based on effected me more since it took place during my lifetime. If not for the torture scenes (which seems like many Hollywood insiders aren’t pleased with), I could see Zero Dark Thirty being the dark horse to win Best Picture. It still has a chance to pull an upset, but I think Argo has it beat.

So there you have it, this year’s Oscar nominees! Be sure to check the blog this week for a post-Oscars report on the winners, fashion and any surprises the event might deliver! Hobo Dan and I also will have a full review on this year’s Best Picture Winner as soon as possible!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Best Picture Project 13, The Artist

Best Picture Project is back with the most recent winner:

The Artist, 2011

Hobo Dan: I watched The Artist after it won best picture. I had a lot of perceived notions about why it won and what made it appeal to the Oscar selection committee. They were mostly right, a silent film set in Hollywood. The film industry loves to romance about itself in film by making movies about movies. But as the film went on, I began to see something else.

I began to realize that without saying a single word, I felt true emotion for the characters. I laughed at the delivery of comedic lines I could not hear. I felt genuine sympathy for the plight of the central character. And that dog! Where was his supporting actor nod? Because they did not use title cards for most of the speech in the film, I found myself actively trying to read lips to get as must as possible. I was forced to watch the actors closely. Which lead me to realize that Jean Dujardin, the lead actor, deserves every bit of that Best Actor Oscar. He earned it.

I have honestly never watched a silent film before The Artist. I was not sure I’d be able to handle the quiet. It was refreshing. You had to pay real attention to the actor’s faces and movements. It was wonderfully done. I initially thought this was the artsy choice that Academy made because they like to snooty, but I must agree, out of all the nominees for 2011, The Artist is the best one. It may not be my favorite film from 2011, but it is the best.

The Wife: Thanks to the beauty that is Netflix, I was FINALLY able to watch last year’s Best Picture winner, The Artist. As soon as I caught wind of this movie (before it won so many Oscars), I was intrigued and wanted to see it. When I saw last year’s Best Picture nominees, without having seen The Artist, I called it as the winner. My reasoning was that well, let’s face it, the film premise appeals to the Academy. A silent picture made in 2011? Check! Not to mention it is a movie about making movies and Hollywood loves to pat itself on the back. These factors combined with the fact that it was so different from the other nominees, like The Help, Moneyball and The Descendants, to name a few, really made The Artist stand out as the clear winner.

While I did want to see The Artist, I admit I was a tad skeptical of it. I wasn’t sure if I’d really like it and consider it my Best Picture winner. Fortunately for me, I ended up absolutely loving The Artist. I enjoyed it so much that it has definitely made my list of all-time favorite movies. Prior to watching The Artist, I was concerned if I would really be able to focus and grasp the story of a silent picture. When actually the silent aspect of the film ended up enabling me to understand and be captured by the story even more so than a standard modern movie with dialogue. I really felt the emotions the actors projected. I found myself laughing hysterically at times as well as nearly tearing up during certain scenes. I both sympathized and rooted for the protagonist, played by Jean Dujardin. Dujardin’s best actor win for The Artist was certainly well deserved! Seriously though why did no one think to give the dog a supporting actor nod? The dog was pretty much my favorite character!

Not only did I enjoy the story of The Artist, but I loved the way it was executed on screen. It was a beautiful movie with fantastic acting that really made you feel with each scene. The Artist has inspired me to check out some older silent pictures. So now to answer the question: is The Artist worth its Best Picture win and the hype? Absolutely! I encourage everyone to watch this movie. Don’t be afraid of the quiet, embrace it!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Valentine’s Day Dump

The Wife: Happy National Greeting Card Day y’all! Seriously, Happy Valentine’s Day to all of our faithful Dump readers as well as those of you checking out the blog for the first time. Even though Valentine’s Day is a silly holiday that you don’t even get a paid day off for, I admit, it can be pretty fun. Sure it’s an excuse for florists, the greeting card industry and chocolate companies to bring in loads of money. It’s also probably the only time of year people clamor to buy those disgusting heart message candies that taste like chalk. Yet, Valentine’s Day is enjoyable if you just embrace it. And I have to say that I look forward to receiving my traditional Valentine’s Day heart shaped box of chocolates from the husband this year!

So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, with the help of Hobo Dan, I’ve created a top ten list of must-see Valentine’s Day movies. Don’t be fooled into thinking these are all romantic sap. Personally I prefer more comedy based movies to watch on Valentine’s Day. We’ve designed this semi-conventional but largely UNCONVENTIONAL list with a variety of tastes in mind. Feel free to share your Valentine’s Day movie choices in the comments below!

1. When Harry Met Sally – This movie is a personal favorite of mine. It’s also one that Hobo Dan loves as well. While romantic comedies aren’t necessarily “his thing,” he enjoys When Harry Met Sally. Billy Crystal (Harry) and Meg Ryan (Sally) are perfect in this movie and the story of their characters’ journey from dislike, to friends and eventually lovers is compelling, funny and quite realistic. I know When Harry Met Sally isn’t the first romantic comedy ever made, but it really did set a standard. Many movies have tried to use the premise of this movie and failed miserably. When Harry Met Sally just works!

2. Love Actually – Ok, we can group this as a Christmas movie since that’s the holiday it revolves around, but hello, look at the title. Love Actually is one of my favorite movies ever. Hobo Dan also insisted that it be included in this list. This movie can work for everyone on Valentine’s Day. It explores the different types of love in a humorous manner. It shows romantic love, unrequited love, blossoming new love, and my personal favorite, the platonic love of friendship! Walking Dead fans should check this out just to see Rick speak in his native British tongue!

3. Star Wars – Why not have yourself a Star Wars marathon this Valentine’s Day? In a relationship, single or just because. Ladies, by suggesting a Star Wars marathon, you are sure to become wife or girlfriend of the year. Star Wars has action but a touch of romance. Not to mention perhaps the most epically awesome “love quote” in history! “I love you!” “I know.” Like a boss.

4. Rocky – The first time Hobo Dan ever watched Rocky with me was on Valentine’s Day our senior year of college. While I consider this a Thanksgiving movie (it is!), Rocky is a perfectly acceptable movie for your Valentine’s Day. The love of Rocky and ADRRIAAANNN is epic. Not to mention, the love of sport! For even more fun, watch Rocky III and enjoy the bromance of Rocky and the incredible Apollo Creed! This movie will also encourage you to work out after Valentine’s Day, which is good since you will likely need to burn those heart shaped candies off.

5. Captain America/Thor/Iron Man – Any of these super hero movies can make your Valentine’s Day enjoyable. I grouped them all together, but you can pick your favorite or just watch all three. They are action packed, fun and throw in enough romance to qualify as a Valentine’s Day movie!

6. How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days – I just can’t not include this. I absolutely love this movie. It’s romantic, but hilarious too. I love the soundtrack as well! Sure it has a cheesy element to it, but it’s fun. I remember seeing this with friends on a Valentine’s Day when I was single back in the day. Like I said, it’s just FUN!

7. Brave – Disney Pixar’s most recent release, Brave, could easily be part of your family Valentine’s Day tradition! While no romantic story is present, this adorable movie shows the love between a mother and daughter. The love of family is very important! Brave also proves that you don’t need someone to make you happy. Merida is seriously the coolest Disney princess! If you have kids, this movie is especially perfect!

8. Harry Potter – Seriously you didn’t think I would include Star Wars and not the Harry Potter franchise did you? Any day is good for a Harry Potter marathon so why not make it part of your Valentine’s Day?! Harry Potter encompasses romantic love and more importantly, the love of friendship!

9. Annie Hall – Woody Allen must make this list somehow! Annie Hall, one of the few romantic comedies to win an Academy Award for Best Picture, is a fun movie that can be enjoyed on Valentine’s Day. It’s hilarious and while it is an older movie, the comedic situations really aren’t dated. Not to mention, this one has a REALISTIC ending and can show you that romantic stories aren’t necessarily Hollywood perfect!

10. Psycho – Ok so you just hate Valentine’s Day. This one is for you. If you want to forget the day all together, just watch one of Hitchcock’s finest horror films, Psycho. It is a really good movie, and hey maybe it can make you feel a bit better about some of your crazy ex’s? It’s a win.

There you go! I have to give a special BONUS nod to The Notebook, which just missed the list. I love The Notebook and even own a copy of it, but if I’m being honest, I would watch all of the above movies before it. If you love a pure romance movie like The Notebook for your Valentine’s Day though, then more power to you. We hope you enjoyed our conventional, yet primarily unconventional list of Valentine’s Day movies. Happy Valentine’s Day or just Happy Thursday, whatever you prefer!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Review: Identity Thief

The Wife: After seeing several “serious” movies recently, sometimes a little stupidity and humor is necessary. Also, since there isn’t much to do on a Friday night in our town, the movie, Identity Thief, seemed like an appropriate choice. Not to mention, I typically enjoy Jason Bateman’s movies. I will first off say that this was everything I thought it would be: decently funny with a semi-entertaining, yet completely unrealistic plot. However, my movie experience as a whole was quite unpleasant due to a few select movie patrons.

BEGIN RANT/When I pay to see a movie at the theatre, I expect to enjoy the “big screen” experience as I watch said film, whether it be a musical, thriller, comedy or whatever. I find it incredibly RUDE when people talk loudly during a movie. During Identity Thief, we had the unfortunate pleasure of being stuck directly behind a person who not only talked, but literally shouted throughout the entire movie. It was very distracting to say the least. Lately, the main “talkers” we’ve encountered at the theatre have typically been adults too. If rowdy teens know how to keep quiet during a movie, adults should certainly be capable of this as well. I just don’t get how people can be SO RUDE. It seems that several movies we’ve seen as of late have had several “talking offenders.” I am a talker. I will talk to anyone, but I know how to zip it and respect others when I go to the movie theatre!/END RANT

Regardless of the LOUD person, I tried to pay attention as best I could, even though at times I literally had to STRAIN my ears to hear what the characters were saying. Fortunately, Identity Thief isn’t a deep film, so that helped. The movie stars Bateman as Sandy and Melissa McCarthy, who I will always remember as Sookie from Gilmore Girls although she is best known for Bridesmaids, as Diana. Sandy is seen as a mild mannered family man and financially conservative type. Flash to Diana, who is wild, upbeat, and makes her living by scheming and stealing identities. Of course, she ends up stealing Sandy’s identity, which leads us to the plot of the movie (obviously). While the entire premise of how McCarthy’s character stole identities and how law enforcement dealt with the issue is highly unrealistic and inaccurate, it did make for some humorous hijinks. With his identity stolen and his new job on the line, Sandy decides that the only way to rectify the situation is to travel across the country, catch the person who stole his identity and bring them to the authorities. He easily catches Diana, which leads to a crazy road trip with the characters. In predictable fashion, Sandy and Diana seemingly bond during the road trip, however this of course comes with clashing personalities, oh and the fact that SHE IS A CRIMINAL. Haha! Of course, in true Hollywood fashion, the movie makes you end up feeling sorry for Diana’s character. I won’t spoil the ending for you, and while it was predictable, I enjoyed how they wrapped up the story.

Taking the unrealistic aspect out of it, Identity Thief did deliver in the laugh factor. It was funnier than the previews made it out to be, which was a nice surprise. While I did like the movie and find it humorous, it really isn’t a memorable type of comedy, like The Hangover. Unless you are super bored and don’t have incessant talkers at your movie theatre, I’d save this one for Netflix.

Hobo Dan: What can I say about Identity Thief? Stupid title. Identity Theft. There, fixed that for you over paid Hollywood writers. I was entertained by this film in the most rudimentary way possible. Meaning; when a man is kicked in the balls, I laugh. The enormous distraction sitting directly in front of me gyrating to the hip hop music; chortling at the simplistic slap stick humor; loudly protesting at the use of the ‘F’ word in a rated ‘R’ movie; taking up three seats when the rest of us were crammed in like the poorest upper-class passengers on the last life boat off the Titanic; didn’t, to put it mildly, help my enjoyment of this run of the mill comedy will a lower case ‘c’.

There is predictable, like The Hangover 2, then there is a mile of crap, followed by another mile of eighty’s comedies that are just funny enough that we remember laughing at them even though we haven’t actually watched them in years, then you’ll find Identity Thief. It was rude and crude, and I like rude and crude, but it was presented in a way that just made it pathetic, like the fat guy who orders two Big Macs and a Diet Coke or Lance Armstrong. It seems like the writers wanted it to be some edgy modern reflection of our world were black and white morals are slowly greying together, but then, just after first draft was finished, the producer fired those writers and replaced them with his twelve year old ginger son who is obsessed with fart jokes. And there wasn't even a single fart joke! Fail movie, fail.