Monday, November 22, 2010

Sorry for the delay... :/

Before I post any other reviews and notes on this blog, I just wanted to let all my followers know that I'm so sorry about not blogging for a few months already?? Wow, I have some serious catching up to do!!

So, just for the record, these are the movie reviews I'm planning on posting hopefully during these next few days:

-The Social Network
-The Runaways
-The Hunger Games (the book obviously...)

Check on those either tomorrow or the day after that, and I promise I'll be good with my blogging!! (And I really do mean it this time...)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Re-watched: Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire (Based on the book Q&A by Vikus Suwarp)
Dir: Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tardan
Cast: Dev Patel (Jamal), Anil Kapoor (Prem Kapur), Frieda Pinto (Latika), Irrfran Kahn (Police Inspector), Madhur Mittal (Salim)
Script: Simon Beaufoy
Length: 2 hrs.
Verdict: SEE
Rating: R (Originally the rating was PG-13, but the MPAA bumped it up to R because of its intensity. I'd say this one deserves its R Rating. It's violent and terrifying at some points.)

So this movie replayed on TV yesterday and it gave me a reason to review this movie again. I loved this movie when I first saw it (Don't remember if it was last year or two years ago) and I realized how much this movie deserved all these Oscars. You probably know the story: A young man participates on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and gets all the answers right. How did he do this? The host (Anil Kapoor) thinks he's cheating, but he gets a chance to explain his moving and powerful, if not frightening and terrible, story about what lead him to all the right answers. Add a beautiful love story in the mix, and how could you not love this?
In a way, this reminds me of all those cheesy fairy tales. You know, poor boy grows up in the slums and has a hellish childhood then he finds love, and gets a whole load of money... Don't let that scare you away. Because this is one brutal, violent movie. Not that there's a lot of blood and gore and violence, but when it does happen, it's shocking, and it makes you see India in a whole new different way. I gotta admit, there were some times when this movie made me feel uncomfortable, but if this is real life for the poor in India, I prefer that my stomach was turned. Danny Boyle creates a unique atmosphere that will definately not be for everyone, but it's an atmosphere that I really enjoyed.
The child acting in this movie is amazing. These kids have never acted in their lives? Seriously? They seemed to be acting all their lives. Plus, what a great cause, these kids were given money to go to school and to make their lives better. What was also really engaging were these kid's faces, they lit up the whole screen and made you terrified for them when they are thrust in these situations. They never really felt child-actory if you know what I mean. But it's not just them that are mind-blowing, Dev Patel as the grown up Jamal is perfect for the role, he embodies a sense of vulnerabillity and passion, and together with Frieda Pinto as his love interest, they make a wonderful pair. That scene when they see each other again in the mafia boss's house, I'm not gonna lie, my heart was beating a thousand beats per minute.
Then again, you have other great performances besides the two leads. It's official now that I love Irrfran Kahn. He was great as the father in The Namesake, and he's great here as a harsh police inspector, and those two roles cannot be more different. Anil Kapoor is really charasmatic, and I was torn by Salim, who's nice for one second, and a complete jerk the next, so you really don't know what you think of him. Every character has an emotional depth and Jamal's overall story isn't written in a cheesy way, only strong and poingant. When I first saw it, it became one of my favorite movies so please give it a try.
Overall: It's a wonderful effective love story that brutal and violent, and it won't be for everyone, but if you haven't already, I strongly recommend SEEing it.

Kiddie-tron: Definitely not for kids. It's graphic and some parts are terrifying. I would say, maybe fourteen if they can handle it. :)

Slumdog Millionaire is available on DVD and Blu-Ray

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Namesake movie

The Namesake
Dir.: Mira Nair
Cast: Kal Penn (Gogol/Nikhil), Tabu (Ashima), Irrfan Khan (Ashoke), Jacinda Berret (Maxine), Sahira Nair (Sonia)
Script: Sooni Taraporevala
Year: 2007
Length: 2hrs. 2 min
Verdict: SEE IT
Rating: PG-13 (Hmmm... A borderline PG-13. There's some stuff, but not too much)
Faithfulness Scale: 68% (Not too much missing, but not completely faithful)

Really good adaptation! Like the scale shows, not INCREDIBLY faithful text-wise, but spirit-wise, it's a completely faithful adaptation. Plus, all the important scenes are there, which is a plus! :)
First of all, the movie is GORGEOUS. All those sweeping shots of Calcutta and New York just completely took me by surprise. So, I do give Mira Nair credit for that. It might look like the scenes from a travel documentary, but they are better than that. And I'm sorry everybody who thought Girl With a Pearl Earring was great, but the movie actually makes Calcutta an attractive place to visit! 
Besides that, everyone did great in their roles. Kal Penn was amazing as Gogol/Nikhil (he's not as good as you can't imagine anyone else in the role, but he's still really good). MY only problem with him, is that he's not really good to play a teenager. He sort of plays it off as dumb (Maybe he missed playing Harold in Harold and Kumar or something.) But other than that, when he played Gogol age 20-25, he did give Gogol a great emotional range. Irrfran Kahn and Tabu are wonderful playing the parents, and the supporting roles were good too. What's most important in the acting is that they stayed true to the spirit of the book, which is really important if you're not going to make it completely faithful. All the actors are very touching in these roles which what made them all work for me. 
I acutally preferred the way the movie started out; with the parents in India, meeting each other for the first time, the accident, and the aftermath of moviing to America. The book was told in flashbacks, which I really enjoyed, but sometimes seemed too long and take up too much room. With the flashbacks told first, it started off on the right pace in chronological order, without the need to replay them througouht the movie. Which is a good thing, because, this movie is WAAAY too long at 2hrs and 2min. It had to shave off at least 30 minutes. It's nice to see Indian lifestyles vrs. the American lifestyle, but the scenes just go on too long. However, this is a really faithful adaptation, it will please fans, it will touch people, and it's a good-hearted adaptation. I LOVED it!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Perks of a Wallflower movie coming up!

I guess by now Stephen Chabosky's Perks of Being a Wallflower is starting to become a classic in the world of books (and yes I do not know how many of you read or planned to read this book.) So it wasn't very surprising that now they're making a movie! And yes, Logan Lerman

(you know... Percy Jackson) and Harry Potter movie fans (yep this gal),

you WILL be pleased!

"Emma Watson and Logan Lerman are in negotiations for the two lead roles in John Malkovich’s adaptation of the novel “The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Filmstage shares:

Stephen Chbosky, author of the same-titled novel published in 1999, will be directing from his own script with Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich and Russell Smith producing.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower tells the story of a shy, unpopular teen who assumes the alias “Charlie”, who narrates his life and the happenings of his high school through a series of letters to an anonymous person. The book caused some controversy amongst parents who disliked its frank treatment of some heavy issues including suicide, drugs, and sex. It will be interesting to see how these issues are dealt with in the film and whether they will be just as controversial on screen."
Well, it seems like one depressing book. However, like I said before, Watson DID grow as an actress in the HP movies, and certainly better than the likes of Vanessa Hudgens and Miley Cyrus who seem to be taking over the book adaptation movie world lately. It's now official that Logan Lerman is going star. I have not seen him in Percy Jackson although I did hear that he was pretty good. Plus, all I got to say to John Malkovich: BRING IT ON!! He already made a bad choice to star in Eragon, let's see how he fare with this! :)

The Namesake is as good as it's reputation

The Namesake
By: Jhumpa Lahiri
Setting: India, New England and New York, 1968-1999
Format: 291 pgs.
Verdict: READ IT
Rated: PG-13 (You know, adults doing adult things. Nothing graphic though!)

The Namesake is everything you'd hear it being; touching, warm and all those delicious words. However, it dosen't have a REAL conflict, a REAL suspensful plot. It's just the story about Gogol Ganguli, the son of Bengali immigrants who moved to America a year after their arranged marriage. Gogol has been named after his father's favorite author, Nikolai Gogol, because his great-grandmother couldn't fufill the job of naming her great-grandson. At first, Gogol dosen't mind his name. That is, until his teen year until he really starts to find it annoying because, who in the world would want to be named Gogol right? As Gogol matures and grows, goes to college, gets into relationships and marries, he casts off the name for Nikhil, his original birth name. The whole book goes through Gogol's maturity and thirty years of his life, and we're riding along on his journey of being accepted into American society as a new person. 
Now of course, that's nothing incredibly exciting, and this is one of those books that could have been a terrible one if the execution is not properly done. But the thing is, this book is so well written, the characters so well sketched out, that it eventually was a sucess. Ashima, the mother, was the only one who got on my nerves sometimes, because in the beginning she whines and complains all the time. But she really becomes a real person on the page. I found myself relating a lot to Gogol/Nikhil, and caring for him, which is a must when you write a book like this. There is not one single character that I didn't like and didn't relate to, which is nice to see for a change. 
Like always, there ARE love stories in this book. All of them very interesting. Each of Gogol/Nikhil's girlfriends are different (besides the fact that they all read and like to travel. Another reason why these characters as so relatable.) In that case, it's really hard to see who he will end up with or if he ends up with any of them. And each of them have different outcomes, so when I thought it was going to end one way, it didn't end the way I expected. Like life. :)
The writing in this book is the second best writing I've ever read in my life. It's part of what makes you hold on to the story when you have a plot such as this one. The writing style gives the book this mood that kept me holding on as the characters warm my heart. It's maybe not the BEST book I've ever read, but it is probably one of the best book I've read this year. READ IT. You'll be pleasantly surprised like I was. :)  

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Alice in Wonderland (late... :/) movie review

Alice In Wonderland
Dir: Tim Burton
Cast: Mia Wasikowska (Alice), Johnny Depp (Mad Hatter), Helena Boham Carter (Red Queen), Anne Hathaway (White Queen), Crispin Glover (Knave of Hearts), Micheal Sheen (White Rabbit), Alan Rickman (Caterpillar), Steven Frye (Cheshire Cat)
Script: Linda Woolverton
Length: 1 hr. 49 min.
Verdict: SEE
Rating: PG (Agree with this one. There is a battle scene and a few scary scenes here and there.)

I'm a big Alice fan. I own I own countless of Alice books and movies, and I'm really intrigued by the whole story of how Alice was written and all. And I do know that this version of Alice In Wonderland is worth it. First of all, the movie looks amazing. The whole set captures Wonderland just right with a mix of danger and creepiness but still keeping it fun and playful and, most of all, curious.
The movie basically begins when Alice Kingsley the now-grownup cute Alice, (?Mia Waskikowska? is perfect for Alice if not a little too pale, though that's probably thanks to make-up) is just deciding on a fiancee until she sees the white rabbit and then: well, you know what happens. Once she's in Wonderland the people and creatures have eagerly awaited her return. For the evil Red Queen, Iracebeth (played deliciously with a rather enormous head by Helena Boham Carter) has taken over Wonderland and has become the female version of Stalin. So it's Alice's job to go to the White Queen, Iracebeth's younger sister (Anne Hathaway is adorable here!) and ultimately fight the dreaded Jabberwocky with the help of the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp is perfectly cast here), a bloodhound (Timothy Spall), Blue the caterpillar (Alan Rickman also perfectly cast) among others.
WHAT??? This isn't the normal Alice in Wonderland storyline? WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO??? While it's true I didn't care much for the "good-vrs.-evil" story-line we've seen so many times in movies that's been better executed, I didn't mind much. In fact, for a movie like this, why the hell does story matter? Burton remains faithful to the world, to the characters, to the mood and to the theme and that's all what matters. And he truly does succeed.
I LOVED Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. He IS the Mad Hatter. I don't see how they would have casted anyone else. Depp captures the creepy wierd aspect while still maintaining a level of sweetness and fun. Helena Boham Carter again is pefect for her role as the evil Red Queen (which I guess is a combination of the Queen of Hearts AND the Red Queen.) She's evil, but she also has a sense of humor, contrasting her sister, the White Queen who cannot hurt a single thing, not even waving away a butterfly (???) and who's kind of light headed, but she's still smart and certainly a lot nicer than her sister. I liked Anne Hathaway, she put her own stamp on the part, which I really enjoyed quite a bit.
Only problem, and I did mention this before, I wished the movie had some other plot line we've seen before. Not the "it's Alice's destiny to fight the Red Queen and save Aaaaall of Wonderland!!!" Really Tim Burton? You're so creative, can't you be even MORE creative with the plot of this movie? It did kind of ruined the movie for me, I wished Burton could come up with a more original plot and ending.
But, you know what saved it? That's right folks, can't believe I'm saying this, but the special effects, the costumes, and Wonderland itself is what saved the whole thing. This Wonderland is just beautifully done and recreated. I think out of all the Wonderlands that I've seen in movie history, this one's the best BY FAR! Not only does it look incredibly beautiful and colorful, it was faithful to the book, so the world looks daunting, charming and magical, but it also had quite a bit of darkness in it, which I appreciated as an Alice fan. And adding this great cast in this setting, I got into this world, and it never let me go, until Alice ultimately leaves Wonderland.
Overall, a bit underwhelming (curse you hype!) but it's still very enjoyable, I seriously recomend SEEing it!

Kiddie-tron: Well, it IS PG. It deserves its rating. Like I said, nothing too shabby, but there is a major battle scene, in which something's head gets cut off, and it might be a bit too scary for really young kids. But overall, it is a kid's movie, so you should be A-OK if you have kids. 

Alice in Wonderland is now out on Blu-Ray and DVD
The Red Queen: I need a pig here!
[Live pig is slid under her feet]
The Red Queen: I love a warm pig belly for my aching feet.

The Mad Hatter: What a regrettably large head you have. I would very much like to hat it. I used to hat The White Queen, you know. Her head was so small.
The Red Queen: It's tiny. It's a pimple of a head.

The Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad?
[Alice checks Hatter's temperature]
Alice Kingsley: I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Shiver movie in the works!!

Ever read Shiver by Maggie Stievater?

Now, I don't know about you, I've heard LOTS about the books, and it's on my to-read list. According to Variety, Unique Features is planning to add this to their list of projects. Because I've heard SO many good things about this book, this will probably make people happy.


Unique Features has acquired screen rights to "Shiver," a bestselling supernatural romance novel by Maggie Stiefvater that is the first of a three-book series.Pic will be produced by Unique Features partners Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne.
Book covers a bittersweet paranormal romance between a teen who becomes a wolf each winter and his girlfriend, who helps him find the secret to staying human. The first installment was published by Scholastic Press in August and has been on the bestseller lists for six weeks. The sequel novel, "Linger," will be published next August. Unique acquired all three books in the series.
Shaye and Lynne, who at New Line covered such fantasy and supernatural subject matter as "The Lord of the Rings" and "Blade," sparked to the author's voice, and said they couldn't ignore the grip that otherworldly stories have on young viewers.
"I'm not the biggest werewolf or vampire fan, but the author has a strong take on a young adult sensibility," Shaye said. "It's also a sexy love story that isn't too over the top."
Shaye and Lynne used their discretionary fund to acquire the book in a competitive bidding situation. They will bring it first to Warner Bros., where they have a first-look deal, and will set a writer shortly.
Unique adds "Shiver" to a slate of pic projects that include an adaptation of the Paul McCartney children's book "High in the Clouds," a Barry Levinson-directed adaptation of the musical "City of Angels" and the Broadway-bound musicals "Elf" and "Secondhand Lions."

Now that's all fine but the book is only a newbie in the book world (Okay, I know it's been out for a year but still) and something tells me that it's going to have a hard time starting off. Not to let people down or anything, but that was the case with a lot of adaptations. Plus, after what happened with the Great and Terrible Beauty movie, I had lost all hope. However I do hope the book gets its chance, it does seem like a good story to shake up the vampire and werewolf world that we're getting so tired of.