[the films of] David Fincher

Via Slash Films I found this very cool tribute video–made by Kees van Dijkhuizen–it is third in a series he has created –[the films of] Sofia Coppola and Danny Boyle are out too–but Fincher is one of my all time favorites.  Several of his movies are very high on my best of list…ENJOY!

Sucker Punch, all style…no substance

I was so excited…I LOVE Zack Snyder!  300, Watchmen and even The Owls of Ga’Hoole–loved them all.  And with Sucker Punch’s trailer being super awesome, I was highly anticipating it.   Maybe that was my problem…nothing could live up to that much mental hype.  It is visually stunning.  Full of action with kick ass women.  And has a cool dragon.  But still it disappoints. 

I will describe  my feelings as I watched–OMG! This if fracking awesome!  The music, the imagery–wonderful!  So cool–what a great turn–I love it!  Shaolin temple fight with giant ninja like dudes–too sweet!  Okay, zombie germans–nice…anything else?  no…just lots of tears, almost tears and men leering–oh more action–dancing–action, action, action.  I am kind of bored.  I do not care about any of them.  That’s nice.  Okay.  WTF?  The ending song over the credits–horrible. 

That is it.  That was the range of my reactions as I watched.  My early high was soon replaced by the dullness of repetition.  Snyder is a master of style, but the story and characters suffered this time.  It is brainless fun, but I was expecting more from him–he did it before–blend action with content–maybe he will do it again…next time.  I hope so.

Although fun–Limitless doesn’t reach its potential–

An original idea. Strong performances. It should be good–right?  Well almost.  Limitless falls prey to Hollywood formula screenwriting–must have external obstacles and a villain–which both could have been internalized for a much stronger film.  Instead it becomes a light popcorn movie.

And that is a shame, because it had so much potential.  A man that is given full access to his brain’s power and capacity.  The possibilities are limitless–yeah, I know–but it true.  How do you handle the sudden change?  The impact on the mind? The soul? So, what starts well–including a wonderful scene that introduces his new found abilities–quickly turns superficial.  It becomes more about what he does than what is happening to him.  Deep sigh. Ah, well.

I did enjoy Bradley Cooper in the role. (Abbie Cornish and Robert DeNiro were mere bit players.)  This is Cooper’s movie and if only he were given more to work with it could have a been a big turn for him–but nope–he’s still all smile and sex appeal.  Not that there is anything wrong with that…  🙂

It is not a waste of 2 hours–it is well paced and is overall fun.  If you could ignore some stupid things done by a genius mind and go along for the ride–you will have a good time.  I just wish it could have an incredible time.

Paul made me laugh…alot!

Two men and a small grey alien lit up by an spotlight

I love Sci-Fi. I love Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. So I was going to watch this movie, even though the posters and trailers were sort of lame.  And although it is not the same caliber as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz (which are caliber super awesome!) it is pretty funny.

Simon and Nick wrote it and they have a special chemistry that is a pleasure to watch.  Then Kristin Wigg shows up–(who is quickly becoming one of my favorite comedians)–and adds the right amount of crazy and some of the best lines.  Add Jason Bateman, Seth Rogen, Bill Hader and a few surprises and you have a fine company of funny people. 

I loved all the sci-fi geek references–well…because I am a sci-fi geek. 🙂  It all seemed plausible too–two nerds that end up having a true close encounter–it’s all very clever.  There some flat moments and the pacing could have been a bit tighter, but it’s not enough to decrease the fun factor. 

And sometimes that is all you want from a movie–a good, fun time.  Thanks, Paul!

The Lincoln Lawyer is good old fashioned fun!

   

OMG! Matthew McConaughey is back!  Back from the hell of poorly produced romantic comedies that focus mainly on how to have him remove his shirt and smile.  We always joke that he needs the money to buy new flip-flops.  Don’t get me wrong I love Matthew–I am not dead!  He has a disarming charm, but he is also a talented actor, that has proven to have what it takes in films like Frailty, Lone Star, A Time to Kill and one of my favorite guilty pleasures Reign of Fire (had to throw that one in there). 

The Lincoln Lawyer returns Matthew to fine form–with his shirt on.  He is the right fit to play Mick Haller, a defense lawyer that defends the sleazy from the back of his lincoln town car.  Now surround him with an excellent supporting cast–Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy, Josh Lucas–and you have something that doesn’t happen to much anymore…magic.

The story may be simple and predictable, but that does not matter.  You are 100% invested in the story and characters.  I enjoyed it more than I should have…I’ll admit it–which I believe speaks of the chemistry on film. 

I heard this is the first novel in a series of novels by Michael Connelly and now I would love to see Matthew reprise this role…and keep his shirt on!  Maybe on some other movies too–that would be nice.

Vegas virgin no more!

Hotel / Casino New York-New York in Las Vegas.

Image via Wikipedia

My Vegas cherry has been popped!  And what an experience that was…

After months of preparation and anticipation the time had come–we left Austin on Monday evening on a full Southwest airline flight and the party started right then and there.  

Although, Matt and I had to sit apart–I was lucky to sit  with some awesome people from Dallas–a cool son was treating his parents to a trip to Las Vegas for their 50th wedding anniversary (at their request and, for their first time.)  We shared stories, drinks and laughs. 

One of my favorite things about travel is meeting the different folks and learning a little about their lives.  It has always been fascinating to me that we share this planet and space and yet we do not know each other.  We have so much in common and yet humans led pretty sheltered lives–surrounded only by what we know–it’s cool to have the opportunity to peek into someone else’s life and make a connection.

Landing in Las Vegas at night was awesome!  The desert was black and you have this brilliant light shining in the middle of it…crazy!  Found the Luxor right away from the tarmac and I couldn’t help but feel the excitement.  There was hooting and howling from the passengers–or could have just been my crowd–anyway it was a great feeling.

First night–we went straight to Burger Bar in Mandalay Bay–supposedly the best burger on the Strip.  (We had made the decision to make this a foodie trip–since we are more interested in food than watching shows we can watch here in Austin–so we wanted to get straight to some food.)  We were rushing through the maze that are the Vegas Casino–afraid we would not make it before closing and I was like a kid being rushed through a toy store–LOOK! Over there!  Is that winged lion? Oh! Fountain.  Yeah–it was an assault of visual stimulation.

We made it in time and it was delicious! Perfectly seasoned and cooked Kobe beef hamburger and the sweet potato fries were extra yummy.  But NOT the best burger I have ever tasted–that honor is still held by the Walburg’s Dale Essenhaus Burger–nonetheless it was good.  The most clever plate was the Dessert Burger–which had my brain confused–why is this sweet?  It was very tasty and very sweet.

After it was gambling and drinking–which will become a recurring theme.  I have been to a casino before, so the sounds and smells were not totally new to me.  The amount and variety of slots and table were new to me–it is an attack on the senses.  Chimes and dings.  An odd sense of alertness (maybe the oxygen being pumped into the casino?) and energy.  Could be electric–but I think it is all the mojo being swirled together.  

I am a timid gambler.  I hate letting my money go.  So this was going to be difficult.  In order to make this more enjoyable I had made a pact with all my loved ones that I was playing for all of us. IF I WIN–WE ALL WIN!!  That was my motto coming in.  Armed with the joint mojo of all my friends and family I will do it!  I will win millions and share. 

So, I put my first $20 bill in and my heart started racing.  “This is entertainment. This is fun. This is for all my peeps! ”  I repeated in my head over and over.  A few pushes later the nerves led way to excitement as I doubled my money–woohoo!  Visions of golden sugar plums were dancing in my mind…yes! this it going to work. Then I started losing my winnings.  No!  What was happening? My heart sank.  I decided to walk away with $17 and exclaimed “Sweet! I only lost 3 dollars!”  and Matt shook his head sadly and announced that I was not grasping the nuisances of gambling. 

The next day we were off!  Paris breakfast buffet was our first stop (freshly made crepes–YUM!).  Walking on the streets I was overcome by the size of what I was witnessing.  We were in the middle of the desert, surrounded by these man-made structures.  Some of it impressive in scale and mimicry and others gaudy and tacky…very tacky.  It is funny–funny peculiar–what we do for entertainment.

And entertaining it is!  Although I practiced my Blackjack skills–I felt more comfortable among the slots (I did get to play some video Blackjack) and they are super fun.  I loved Star Wars Droid Match.  Lord of the Rings where I fought a Balrog…very cool.  Sex and the City, which was very good to me.  The Wizard of Oz–I love Lucy–Deal or No Deal and the famous Wheel of Fortune. 

Add a constant flow of booze and you have the recipe for some good times, even when you have a mere $5 on the line–there were plenty of moans and groans as well as cheers and woots!  It only became painful when I was desperately trying to win the large progressive amounts with max bets–the money disappeared to quickly and it was no longer entertaining–so I went back to fun gambling.

One thing we did not gamble on was the food.  Delmonico’s for the best steak we had ever tasted.  Emeril’s Fish House for a private, chef’s table experience that was amazing.  Village Super Seafood Buffet with an impressive array of seafood deliciousness!  Hash House a Go-Go for some incredible creations.  And simple pleasures like an authentic Nathan’s hot dog. 

My only hiccup was being poisoned–by who, what or when–it is unknown.  All I know is that I was horribly sick on Wednesday evening and did not have my full appetite back until Friday.  It was a bummer.  We missed out on some activities that night.  No Fremont experience or downtown.  But there was no way I was spending my last day in a hotel room!  We were out and about all day.on Thursday.  I have no regrets.

On Friday we had to be at the airport by 6:30am and I jokingly mentioned that the slot machines were calling my name.  We laughed.  Then right in front of us a woman won about $700!  NICE!  I was tempted but said no.  I decided to go home with some money in my pocket, which I have been told is going home a Big Winner.

Overall it was a wonderful adventure!  I do not understand the people that visit more than once a year.  It would not be my vacation of choice–I am a nature girl–and the beach will always have a lure.  But I do feel that everyone should have their Vegas cherry popped!  It is a singular experience in a singular place.

Battle: Los Angeles may not be original–but it’s a hell of a ride!

 

This movie has been done before.  Yet, the teaser and trailer for Battle: LA were some of the best I have seen in years–I wanted to see it!  And although it borrows from any number of military and alien themed films, I enjoyed the execution of this particular story.  Instead of telling a broad, all-encompassing tale–it focuses solely on one marine platoon.  It is that angle that makes this unique–but it is the solid performances and non-stop action that make it fun!

I loved the look of the aliens–the ships looked battle worn and they were interesting to look at–with a clever reason for the hostile takeover.  Although they offer great foils, it is the human aspect that really works here.  The cast is great!  Aaron Eckhart is the star–strong and yet a little broken–and the young cast follows his lead. You like all the characters–and as Matt said, “There were no red shirts.”  You did not want any of them to die and that is a big accomplishment when it comes to this genre.

I love apocalyptic movies!  They make you feel proud to be human.  If faced with oppression and/or extinction we rise up–we are fighters!  And against any odds…we will prevail! You can only hope that is what will happen for real…not that I want to find out–so, I will just go to the movies and hope for the best.

The new Jane Eyre is not the best version out there…

   

I must begin by saying that I absolutely love Jane Eyre. It has been my favorite novel since I was 10 years old and I have read it many times.  Jane was my first role model.  In a childhood full of isolation and turmoil, I related to her and wanted to become like her–smart–strong-willed–independent–and completely realistic. 

The story of Jane’s life is intriguing.  It is full of gothic suspense and romance–but not the silly, rainbow and butterfly romance but a soul connection with the greatest anti-hero, Mr. Rochester.  (Who I blame for my life-long fascination with anti-hero that then resulted in my finding my own Rochester.  <3)

They are two halves of a whole.  To quote Rochester, “I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you (Jane)–especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous channel, and two hundred miles or so of land come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I’ve a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly.”

Lovely.  And that is the bond that is missing in the latest Hollywood version. (And I have watched every rendition created!) The chemistry between Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender never quite reaches that level of intimacy.  There are parts that are well executed, but most of it feels rushed.  I am a huge fan of the BBC version released in 2006, which is 4 hours in length and covers the novel more closely, but I have seen shorten takes–of other favorites–that work wonderfully–the last Pride and Prejudice was nicely done, as well as the brilliant Sense and Sensibility. So, I was open-minded, yet walked out unsatisfied–especially with the ending, which did not represent Jane as she should have been at the end of her journey.

Maybe I would have been more forgiving, if I were not so protective of these characters.  Maybe watching this without any earlier acquaintance to them would have allowed me to enjoy it for what it is–a simple retelling of a complicated tale. Maybe, but I can not undo my 30 year love affair with Jane Eyre–for I am afraid I may take to bleeding inwardly.

P.S.  Link to Jane Eyre revisited

The Adjustment Bureau needs NO adjustments!


Theatrical release poster
   

Two great movies back to back this week…first Rango and now this–I LOVED IT! 

The Adjustment Bureau had many wonderful components.  Romance? Check.  Tension? Check.  Science Fiction undertones? Check.  Deeper meaning?  Check. 

The strongest part though is the chemistry between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt–it feels real and is palpable–you could feel the electricity shooting from the screen.  Whoa!  I am a big fan of both and this only solidifies their awesomeness. 🙂

I can not say anything about anything–do not want to give it away–you must enjoy this without any extra hints.  The preview is enough. 

Go and watch it!  Then we can talk…

Checking Vegas off the List

I am 40 years old.  Wow. 

Time flies.  Really, it does–you hear that it accelerates as you grow older and it is the truth–NOT just a cliché!  Lately it seems to be travelling at warp speed.  So, over the years I have begun to create a Bucket List–or sorts–places, things  and stuff I want to experience before I kick the bucket. 

I am fortunate that I have checked off several items.  What sort of things?  Well, sunrise on the east coast–check.  Sunset on the west coast–check.  Grand Canyon–check.  Tattoo–check.  Road trip (driving the California 1)–check.  Caribbean Cruise–check.    You get the idea.

Of course, there are still some things I am working on–Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane–Visiting Europe–Living by the Ocean–and the soon to be checked off…Las Vegas.  I have heard stories and seen movies–but have yet to experience Sin City for myself.  

An interesting fact is that when we were considering vacations, Puerto Rico was high on the list and people would say, “That’s nice…”  but when it was changed to Vegas (for various reasons including the said List) the reaction changed too, “OMG! That is SO awesome!  You are going to LOVE it!!”  Really?  Paradise vs. City in the Desert–and the latter receives that greater enthusiastic reactions?    Curious.  Curious, indeed.

Now we are 8 days from boarding  a plane and landing in Las Vegas–among the bright, twinkling lights–and beginning our adventure. 

Las Vegas from Space!

I am excited.  But I am not going to lie–I am bit overwhelmed–there is so much to see and do!  And I keep hearing…it is so great and so much fun!  What if I get there and I am completely unimpressed?  And wonder what all the fuss is about?  We’ll see.  Although, I seriously doubt it –Matt and I are very laid back and create our own fun–so we could be on the sinking Titanic and still have a good time! 

I will blog a few more times with pre-Vegas preparations and then the trip itself–it is going to be awesome!  CHECK!