Why You Should See Oculus, Even if you Don’t Like Scary Movies

Last Friday, the latest horror movie from the Jason Blum production team (the guys responsible for Insidious, Paranormal Activity, The Purge et. al) hit theatres. That film is called Oculus, and you should go see it. I was lucky enough to see this flick at TIFF’s Midnight Madness last year, and am here to insist you go check it out. Now I must admit, when I bought tickets to see this last October, I had no idea it was a horror movie. I just saw the names Katee Sackhoff and Karen Gillan on the docket, nerded out, and promptly bought tickets. Had I known it was scary, I probably would have hesitated, missed out on tickets and this awesome movie, which would have led to an endless lifetime of kicking myself. And get this: I hate scary movies.

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I am a Very Happy Marshmellow

By now, almost everyone has heard of the record breaking Kickstarter campaign that made the Veronica Mars Movie happen. With creator Rob Thomas at the helm, millions of fans (or Marshmellows) around the world, banded together and opened their wallets to see their beloved TV series return. I, unfortunately, was not one of these fans. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t have a credit card at the time of the fundraising. Which in hindsite, was probably a good thing, as I would have donated a small fortune to see my favourite teenage P.I. get her return. And after seeing the movie last night, it would have been money well spent (even if it was money I didn’t have), as the movie was stright up awesome. I don’t remember the last time I left a theatre so satisfied. I am a very happy, warm and toasty marshmellow. Kind of like the middle of a gourmet smore. That’s me right now. And now I want a smore. Damnit.

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American Hustle (or, the Golden Globe winning debut of Amy Adams’ sideboob)

Every year I set out to see all of the possible Oscar nominated flicks, and every year I realize that I don’t like being sad all that much, and hate wallowing in white guilt, so I inevitably give up. This year is no different, but I gave up before I even began. I don’t think I could sit through 12 Years a Slave on the big screen without having a complete emotional breakdown (unless I picture Chiwetel Ejiofor as The Operative from Serenity the whole time, but I feel like that would really ruin the whole point of the movie). One movie I have seen from this season’s crop is American Hustle, and damn, is it fantastic.

(sideboob. image courtesy of imdb.com)

(sideboob. image courtesy of imdb.com)

The movie stars Christian Bale as Irving Rosenfeld, a swuave, charming, con-man with an epic combover, who meets Sydner Prosser, (played by Amy Adams (and her sideboob*)) at a pool party and instantly falls in love with her. The pair (along with Amy Adam’s sideboob) join forces in an effort to con a bunch of desperate dudes out of thousands of dollars, with a false promise of a return that will never come. Unfortunately, a con this simple (albeit brilliant) can’t last for long, no matter how great Amy Adam’s British accent is, and how much sideboob she shows.

Enter Richie Dimaso (Bradley Cooper), an FBI agent with a fantastic perm, and a plan. Using Rosenfeld’s brains and Prosser’s sideboob, he wants to set up a sting to take down dirty politicians. Knowing it’s their only option to avoid arrest, the pair play along. Over time, Dimaso’s plan grows exponentially, as do their problems. I should take this opportunity to mention that while he’s gallavanting around with Sydney (and her sideboob), Irving is married with a son. His wife Rosalyn (played by the phenomenal Jennifer Lawrence), knows what Irving does for a living, and while she doesn’t know specifics, and always seems to be a dirty martini away from going completely off the rails, she knows enough to be potentially damaging to the con. Add her insanity to the looming threat from the mob, and the fact that they’re criminals working for the feds, well, Irving and Sydney have to figure out a way to come out of this on top.

I loved this flick. And the more I think about it, the more impressed I am. The movie was not at all what I expected. The trailers make the it out to be a fast paced, heist-y affair; like Ocean’s Eleven with a perm. This is not really the case. I really hesitate to use the term “slower than expected” when describing American Hustle, because attributing the term “slow” to a movie seems like a negative connotation. Like saying a beer is bitter, or chocolate is chalky – it makes it sound undesirable. But you know what, some of the best beer is bitter, quality dark chocolate is chalky, and American Hustle is a brilliant, slower, movie.

The slower pace doesn’t come from a dragging plot; the story moves along just fine. But it also takes pause to turn these four, strange people, into fully developed, beautifully tragic characters. And the actors bring them to life with charm and grace. Christian Bale completely disappears into Irving, and not just because of the physical changes from Batman (Bale put on a sexy 40 pounds for the role). His performance is so… all encompassing, that I’ve talked to people that didn’t even realize it was him until it was pointed out.

It’s really the women of the movie that take the cake (and the Golden Globes Sunday night). Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal of Rosalyn is gorgeous. The character is a little unhinged, slightly intoxicated, and is susceptible to bouts of hysteria. This could easily make her gratingly annoying, or turn her into a poor man’s Karen Walker (because anyone’s Karen Walker would be poor unless they’re Megan Mullaly. Which J-Law is not). But Lawrence manages to find a layer of vulnerability amidst the funny, that makes the audience want to hug her, while cringing the second she comes on screen because you know something could potentially go wrong at any second.

Amy Adams does a similar thing with Sydney. As a lady con artist, Sydney is a woman who has reinvented herself after being broken by the world one too many times. She is hardened, she is clever, but Adams gives her so much depth, and so many layers, that there are moments you can see that she is one catastrophe away from being broken all over again. Plus her sideboob is bangin’. I’d like to note, that I only mention her boobs excessively because I am jealous that she a) has the confidence and b) has the rack, to wear those plunging neck lines the whole movie. Amy Adams is a rockstar.

Then there’s Bradley Cooper, who, since Alias, I have a hard time seeing as anyone but Will Tippin. Even if he is rockin’ a late 70s perm. What can I say? I latch on and refuse to let go. Case and point: I saw Elisabeth Moss‘ win at the Globes last night as a win for the Bartlett family. I have problems and should probably seek counselling. Don’t get me wrong, his perfomance is wonderful, I’m just ridiculous.

Jeremy Renner is delightful as well as the corrupt mayor, Carmine Polito, Louis C.K. is hilarious as Dimaso’s FBI boss, and the rest of the supporting cast sells the story and the era flawlessly.

While this is the only “Award Season” movie I’ve seen so far, I can hardly say “this is the one to see” with any credibility. But I can say that American Hustle is a wonderful movie. The story is great, the characters are fantastic, and the actors blow the whole thing out of the water. If you get a chance, check this flick out. And be sure to throw it some love in your Oscar pool, because these guys will definitely deliver.

*I’ve had a discussion with my male friends over whether or not Amy Adam is showing gratuitous sideboob or cleavage during this film. They all ruled on the side of cleavage, but I prefer the term sideboob so I stuck with it. Suck it.

Date Night Movie: Don Jon

As two bartenders in the same bar, it’s very rare that my boyfriend and I get a night off together. Extremely rare I’d even say. So when one of these ellusive nights off occur, we like to do one of two things. We either order in an obsene amount of food, watch terrible TV and play video games, or we go see a movie. Since I’m sure no one wants to hear about how much Chinese food two nerds can eat during a Grand Theft Auto binge session, I’ll be writing a lot about the movies.

While the boyfriend (I know everyone reading this knows me, or us, personally, but in case there are some strangers out there I’m going to leave him anonymous until he gives me permission to do otherwise) and I are very similar, when it comes to movies we do have slightly different tastes. He lives under the philosophy that more explosions means a better movie, while I enjoy a more subtle approach to my film making. However, we do always agree on a comedy, which is how we decided to go see Don Jon last week. That was a long winded intro.

Don Jon (2013)
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore)
Written By: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Directed By: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

(image courtesy of screenslam.com)

(image courtesy of screenslam.com)

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… And We’re Back

After a brief summer hiatus – which I swear was not just me being lazy – I’m bringing the blog back for the fall TV season, which just happens to semi-coincide with Oscar movie season. This summer was a little crazy for me, hence the blog-absenteeism. There was a lot of family stuff and relationship bullshit to deal with, plus I finally moved away from my crazy landlord, who was so bananas he’ll be getting his own chapter in my memoir. So my apologies for sucking so hard at this over the summer months, but sometimes you just have to step away from the computer and deal with real life… which by the way, not as much fun.

The only downside to launching this bad boy now is, like I said, I just moved and thus, don’t have cable or internet set up yet. So it’s going to be a rocky beginning, which is not the best platform on which to restart something, but better now than never, right?

As per usual, I plan on watching more TV than is probably considered healthy, but unlike last year, I’m not going to write about everything I watch. It was too much for me to handle and it ended up getting a little over whelming at times. Instead, I’m hoping I can get some friends on board to help me so we can cover as much TV as possible and I can maintain my sanity. So if you, or someone you know likes to watch and write about TV, send them my way and we can get this party started in a serious way.

As for me, I’ll be watching returning shows such as: Chuck, Castle, Glee, Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy, Bones, Community, The Big Bang Theory and Dexter, and will also be checking out some new shows such as: The Ringer, Once Upon a Time, Smash, Pan Am, Playboy Club and Free Agents, along with anything else I happen to catch the pilot of.

That’s not too excessive, right? I’m not entirely sure which ones will make it on here, because I don’t know which shows are going to suck yet. I can promise you this though: One show a night will be written up by yours truly, and if anyone else wants to jump on board they’re more than welcome too.

And, starting soon, you’ll be able to catch me on the Televixen, writing and bitching about the new season of Bones, which should be a lot of fun.

So, welcome back my friends. I’ll do my best to keep writing because I know how much I love it, and hopefully you’ll enjoy it as well.

 

I’m resisting the urge to title this “Super 8 was Super”, because it was, but that’s just lame.

To say I’ve been excited for Super 8 for a while would be a vast understatement. I have been dying to see this movie since it was announced. I love me some JJ Abrams, I love me some Spielberg, I love me some monsters running rampant through a small town… there really wasn’t anything about this movie that could have gone wrong in my eyes. So when I finally got to see it last week, I was actually a little nervous it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. Turns out I had absolutely nothing to worry about. This flick was everything I wanted it to be… everything I needed it be and more. Awesome story, stellar acting (the cast actually blew me away) and it was pure Abrams. I loved it.


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Apologies and Coming Attractions

Once again, I have fallen incredibly behind on everything this blog was supposed to accomplish. Since I last wrote season finales have come and gone, I’ve finished 4 novels, cooked up a storm with amazing, shareable recipes, and still, I have not found the time to write about any of it. This time, however, I do have a valid excuse: My computer basically imploded on me two weeks ago and updating from a blackberry is way too much work for my poor little thumbs. So, I have been living in the stone age of no computers (or as our parents call it, their childhood) for the past 2 and a half weeks and have fallen gravely behind on all things blog related. To further illustrate my computer related pain, I’m currently writing on an iBook so old that it can’t load twitter. At all.

That being said, I have come to deliver not only apologies (I’m sorry your life has been so empty without my witty pop culture banter), but a list of things to come. Since I haven’t had a tool for writing the blog on, I’ve been devising a list of what I’ll write about when my computer is safely returned (hopefully with the hard drive in tact) from the lovely people at the Mac store. I must say, it’s funny how not being able to write really motivates you to want to write more… hopefully this motivation sticks around when I get my computer back and the return of constant internet doesn’t just lead to excessive facebook stalking. I mean… I don’t do that.

Anyways, here’s what’s coming your way:

  • As far as TV goes, I do want to do a post-mortem on the season as a whole for each show, as well as take a look at how awesome (Castle) or awful (Glee) the finale was.
  • With summer upon us, True Blood has returned, and I’ll be doing my best to keep up with that this season. I’ve also created a list of shows to watch/catch up on this summer (if you have any recommendations, bring ‘em) so expect some winning commentary on those as well.
  • In my computer free time, I’ve been catching up on a lot of reading. With almost 4 novels and a handful of comic books done in the past month, expect several book reviews as well as a little something I’m devising regarding comic books you should read if you don’t want to read comic books (also looking for advise on that one… Mitch and Sam I’m looking at you).
  • I’ve also been trying to get some cooking in, so hopefully some new recipes will be coming your way in the near future as well.
  • I’ve been doing my best to stay on top of movies lately, and while I’ve seen Scream 4 and Suckerpunch, I feel like the boat has sailed on timely reviews for those two. However, I’ve also got X-Men: First Class and Thor in my recently viewed folder, so expect reviews on those shortly as well as one on Super 8 which I’m seeing on Wednesday (SO EXCITED).

Yes, I’ve committed myself to a lot here, and given my track record I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re laughing at me right now for biting off more than I can chew. But my New Years Resolution was to write more, and it upsets me how miserably I’ve been failing at this goal. But now that work is starting to settle and my personal life is less of a shit show, I’m hoping for more writing time and am going to do everything in my power to ensure I give myself that hour every day to put pen to paper and churn out something worth reading.

Consider this a mid-year resolution; a recommitment to those promises I scribbled down in January. I like writing this thing, and from what I understand there are a handful (albeit small handful) of people who read this nonsense. So for me and for that small handful, I will do my best to keep up with the film and TV happenings of the world, and continue to exercise my writing chops… mostly so when my parents ask what I’m doing with my life I can point to this rather than my green apron hanging in the corner of the kitchen.

Maybe I’ll also start a “Starbucks Nightmare” series… but I’m pretty sure Howard and his minions would sue my ass faster than you can say, “trenta is a ridiculous idea for a beverage size”.