Love Story

The Other Sister

Year: 1998
Directed By: Garry Marshall
Written By: Alexandra Rose and Blair Richwood (story), Garry Marshall and Bob Brunner (story and screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a nice and heart warming movie. It’s not the type of movie I typically go for and truthfully it wouldn’t be in the collection if not for Amber. I don’t dislike it though. It’s funny at the right times, dramatic at the right times, and it tells a nice feel good story I appreciate when watching.

One of my favorite actresses of all time is Juliette Lewis. She was in many movies I specifically loved during the 90s and I always thought her performances were specifically impressive. I remember 2003 when I saw her in a really small role in Old School it occurred to me that she hadn’t been in anything in a while. I remember thinking she was really hot with the blonde hair, although it was never something I thought about her before. I also remember wondering why she was doing such a small bit part in this film that bore no significance. Now, eleven years later, I feel like I still haven’t seen her in anything significant in the longest time.

Looking back over her filmography it seems that this was one of her last big time roles. Not to sully the significance of the content of this film and by no mean any disrespect to the mentally handicapped, but when I think about this movie and Juliette Lewis’s career in the aftermath this is all I can think of:

Insensitive? Yes, but there just seems to be a correlating factor there. I love Juliette Lewis, she was Mallory Knox after all, but I miss her. As to her performance in this movie I think it was hot and cold. Sometimes I don’t like her portrayal but there are some scenes in which she really brings it. She was a fearless actress in her day, and if I’m not mistaken she has a really interesting life story too. I read about her years ago but haven’t reviewed that in a long time so I can’t remember any of it accurately.

Giovanni Ribisi’s career also seemed to turn south after his role in this movie. I have always liked Ribisi with the exception of his role on Friends, when he more or less played the same character we see in this movie. I think Ribisi plays the better part in this movie actually. I like what he does with the Daniel character. He is hilarious when it comes to sex and heartwarming when it comes to love.

Tom Skerritt plays a great part as the father in this movie and Diane Keaton is appropriately shrewd as the overbearing WASP mother. I remember it was weird for me the first time I saw Annie Hall because I had only known Keaton from this later stage in her career. At this point she generally played characters exactly like the one we see in this movie and after seeing some of her earlier work I had a completely different perspective of her.

This is a nice movie. It’s a feel good movie and if you are looking for a film that will offer you a pick me up you can’t go wrong with this one. This movie is easily worth your time and if you find yourself watching it you will enjoy it. It’s not a film I frequent or often find myself recommending but that doesn’t take anything away from it. It’s just not the type of film I typically watch.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I love this movie so much. My brother and I must have watched this film a million times growing up and I can still quote it word for word. We still can randomly spit out a quote when we are around each other and know exactly what movie we are talking about.

I think this movie is incredibly sweet. It shows that love is an emotion that transcends mental capacity. It completely pulls on your heart strings and makes you root for them to make it. Diane Keaton played a incredibly over bearing mother, and watching again as a mother, it terrifies me into not wanting to be like that. She is the character change through the move however and learns to accept that her daughter is who she is and isn’t going to change just because her mother wants her to. Another side note here before I move on to the poster, I have always been an incredibly strong gay ally. It’s more about equal rights for all and everyone should be treated equally and given the same benefits regardless of who they are who they love. This was one of the first films I remember seeing that involved a lesbian couple. I may not have understood at the time, but now I see how they were showing that struggle of a controlling mother trying to avoid the obvious fact that her daughter was gay. It’s an important issue that has been going on for a long time and I just wanted to put it out there, it’s important to accept and love your children as they are, whoever they are no matter what.

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See? Doesn’t this poster just melt your heart? No? Just me?

There is nothing very special about this poster, it just simply shows the two main characters engaging in a sweet pose. The typography is also nothing to special, and in fact probably could have been a little more playful with the “other.” Overall, the poster is ehh, but the movie is endearing and melts my heart every time.

NEXT MOVIE: The Outsiders (1983)

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Natural Born Killers

Year: 1994
Directed By: Oliver Stone
Written By: Oliver Stone, the original screenplay that was picked up off the bottom of a pile of rejections was by Quentin Tarantino

RYAN’S REVIEW

It gives the wrong impression, it’s not something I generally admit to people openly, but this is my favorite movie of all time.  Since the very first time I saw it I was in love with it. It is unlike any movie I have ever seen and I think it is indisputably a work of art, despite its content.

As to the content of this movie. This isn’t violence it’s anger, pure unadulterated anger.  Anger at a world that isn’t right.  Anger that manifests itself in a violent response.  Mickey and Mallory are the response to what this world was in 1994 and still is.  It is a violent and evil world; there is no innocence, even among the good.  Everything is mainstream and we all do as we are told.  Mickey and Mallory came from the worse elements of this world and what they turned into was simply reactionary. The response from the world depicted  by the public in this film isn’t off base either, that’s the sad reality of the whole thing.

I don’t think this is a movie that should be watched by a younger audience and I don’t think it’s wise for unsettled people to watch it under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs.  Both of which have caused unfortunate problems in the past and the consequences were grave.  It is an awful thing when people watch a film and do something crazy afterwards. I like it even less when the film is blamed because the actions that follow are on the heads of the perpetrator and not film.  Those people were and are crazy.  If it isn’t the film or song they were listening to that triggered them then it would have been something else.

I myself watched this movie at too young of an age in truth. I was 15 or 16 the first time I picked it up off the shelf at the video store I worked at.  I specifically remembered that my step-father had watched it with my older brother and found it repulsive; saying that the rest of us were never to see it.  More than anything it was the look on his face I remember, and the tone in his voice. Something about this movie made it different. We were forbidden from in it a way that somehow surpassed other such declarations. It was years later when I broke the rules and tasted this forbidden fruit alone in my room.  I can say honestly that it had me from the opening scene and instantly became my favorite movie of all time. It claimed the spot early and has never been toppled.

I have also, as a matter of fact, watched this movie under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs and I’m not afraid to admit that.  I was in college; a time long long ago in a town far far away.  Oliver Stone was under the influence of mushrooms at times before and probably during the filming of this movie.  The influence of psychedelics is obvious even to someone who has never experienced them. The scene when Mickey and Mallory eat mushrooms and get followed by a cop was actually based on something that happened to Stone and someone else while they were scouting locations.  Seeing this movie on mushrooms was like watching a different film and I have thought since that the movie was made to be seen like that.  Obviously it is not something I recommend to people and it’s not an experience I expect to have again as times are different now and youthful experimenting is a thing of the past.

I think this movie gets a bad rap, but it earned that in spades.  The content of this movie is harsh and it’s not for everyone.  I have just always seen through all of the violence and loved what is beneath.  Underneath it all is a relationship that I have always found inspiring.  Mickey and Mallory are two people completely in love and hopelessly dedicated to one another.  Their actions are fiendish and awful, but the connection they share is a beautiful thing.  When I was in high school I would tell people about this and tell them to look at the love story that was underneath it all.  I love their marriage over the river when they bond their blood and send it into the river.  I also love when they finally reunite in prison during the riot, great scene.  I don’t care for the implied rape of the hostage, and the very real allusion to it in the uncut version of the film.  These are really bad people, and these are the kind of things those types of people do.  I don’t condone any of the actions Mickey and Mallory take in the film. I love the characters but in no way think that anything about them is alright. It’s just a movie though, and rooting for bad guys is always a guilty pleasure. These bad guys happen to share a love that I admire and it is the love that gets me with this movie.  There is plenty to love and appreciate about this movie but for me it’s all about Mickey and Mallory.  They have a love for one another that is special.  Sure they are crazy, but they are crazy for each other in a touching way.

At the top of this review I credit Oliver Stone with the writing of this film and I want to explain why.  When Quentin Tarantino was trying to get started he sold two screenplays to earn enough money to get Reservoir Dogs started.  Those screenplays were True Romance and Natural Born Killers.  Both of which turned out to be good films. Good films both of which were about a couple that go on a wild cross country crime spree and kill a lot of people. Yeah the stories are different, but only by variation. Quentin Tarantino has loudly criticized this movie in the past because so much of what he intended was changed, and because…you know, his giant over bloated ego was wounded.  Tarantino is brilliant, but when he starts talking he rarely comes across as anything but an arrogant douche bag. Oliver Stone is an incredible writer in his own rite.  He picked up this screenplay off the bottom of a pile of rejected scripts and redid it in his own way. With all due respect to Tarantino, he is a great filmmaker, but he isn’t even half the talent that Oliver Stone was in his heyday.  I’ll be the first to admit things are dramatically different now and the exact opposite today but in his day Stone was hands down incredible.  He made some outstanding movies that, despite their content or political agenda, were works of art and most of them are absolutely unique in their own way.  This movie for example, is unlike any you will ever see.  If you can look past the surface and see it for what it really is you will see that this is more than a film.  It is the product of an artist who was in his element, with a camera as his brush and an editing room as his studio.

During his heyday Oliver Stone was the type of director that a lot of grade-A talent wanted to work with.  You only need to look over the casts of his films from the 80s and 90s to see that.  This movie was no different and the cast it offers is an outstanding one.  It starts with the lead roles of Mickey and Mallory.  Woody Harrelson is not only an interesting person personally but he is the kind of acting talent that it is hard to not like.  He has seemed to only get better with age and this day in age he is just so flawlessly cool.  He is excellent as Mickey Knox. Mickey is uneducated and ignorant but sly and cunning despite that.  He is vicious in the ways that only a man of lifelong repression can be yet he wins you over with that charming quality that can only be embodied by Woody Harrelson.  Harrelson has the benefit in this film of having an outstanding counterpart in Juliette Lewis. To cast Mallory Knox they had to find someone who could be sexy yet batshit crazy at the drop of a hat.  They couldn’t have chosen better.  Nobody pulls off batshit crazy like Juliette Lewis. She is such a badass, she actually broke Tom Sizemore’s nose while filming their scene in her prison cell. I don’t know what has happened to her lately as she only appears in the most random of films these days and always as a cameo.  She doesn’t capture the big roles anymore and I don’t know why because I have always thought she was an outstanding actress.  Like Harrelson she also has a really interesting back story personally.

Tom Sizemore brings his own element of crazy to this film.  I have always been a big fan of Sizemore but his personal life has loudly been problematic.  He has had significant struggles with drugs as well as anger issues that have led to problems for him before.  I do not condone his personal actions but I have always liked him in the supporting roles he is famous for.  In this movie he fits the part like no one else could have and I think he is really good as Jack Scagnetti.  The name of his character specifically is part of this movie that shows its roots from Tarantino.  Scagnetti is a name Tarantino has used before.  In Reservoir Dogs Mr. Blonde mentions his parole officer is named Scagnetti.

This was one of the last significant acting roles Rodney Dangerfield had as his career came to a close.  That is unfortunate as it was a very unsavory role but like Sizemore he just fit the part so well.  I was never a fan of Dangerfield’s loud style but in this movie he did something dramatic and different.  He plays a sick and depraved man. The type that makes you feel sorry for the daughter that grows up to be a psychotic killer. This was Rodney Dangerfield’s first and only performance in a dramatic film and I think he did an excellent job. Despite the role he plays in this movie Dangerfield deserves the respect and recognition of comedy fans.  He was a one of kind comedian who helped pave the way for those who would follow him.

Rounding out the big names in the cast is none other than Oliver Stone’s good friend Tommy Lee Jones who he shares a birthday with.  Jones is a bit over the top in this film but he did so on purpose.  As a Harvard graduate Jones is a highly intelligent actor who in fact was never schooled in his trade.  Jones never took an acting class but that has never inhibited him.  He has had a long and distinguished career as an actor that he continues to build on.  Jones was hot during the time this movie came out having hit it big winning an Oscar for The Fugitive the year before. This role is a much different part and that only highlights his talent as an actor.  He became a beloved actor playing straight laced types like we saw in The Fugitive or The Client but in this movie he is much more uncouth and heinous. It’s not my favorite role from Jones by any means but I still like what he brings to the table as McClusky.

This movie makes a statement about society, the media, human nature, and American culture in the mid nineties.  I think by and large it is misunderstood, but with good reason.  There is a lot more to this movie than meets the eye at first approach.  If you don’t see anything but the worst in it then you are missing out on what makes it the best.  I love this movie and I have never been afraid to admit it.  I have never been one to broadcast it because it sets the wrong impression but I will gladly mention this movie every time the question of favorites comes up.  This movie is my favorite because it is different, because it is bold, and because it says something about the world.

I don’t generally recommend this movie to people, because it isn’t for everyone and I fear too many just won’t understand.  I don’t argue about it either, the content is too controversial and strong opinions come with it.  A movie like this comes with certain preconceived notions and assumptions that can give people the wrong idea about a fan.  People will think what they think but anybody who doesn’t look deeper into this one is missing out.  It has been my favorite movie of all time since the first time I saw it and I love it just as much every time I see it again.  Watch this one at your own risk, it is what it is and not to be taken for granted.  It’s not like other films but that it part of what makes it special.

 

AMBER’S REVIEW

Ryan made me watch this when we were in college. I wasn’t allowed to see anything like this growing up. I didn’t know a movie like this even existed until Ryan showed it to me. I have seen it many times now over the years, but even today it sucks me in and intrigues me. The story is incredibly different than anything else I had ever seen, and still today is a great take on the media. It’s even worse today than when this movie was made. Imagine this movie set in today’s world, with social media the way it is today. It was ahead of its time, not even knowing what the monster social media would become.

Natural Born Killers PosterThis poster is cool. I don’t think it does the film justice, but for its time in history, I think it’s pretty cool. The image is set in all black and white, with the exception of his glasses, which also have the reflection of Mallory. There could be so many connections drawn here about the color and the image of Mallory, but I feel it’s all too cliché now, and probably wouldn’t work today. I just don’t feel like this poster is memorable or as special as the movie is. It really gives no allusion to what the movie is at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEXT MOVIE: Night of the Living Dead (1968)

 

 

 

Moonrise Kingdom

Year: 2012
Directed By: Wes Anderson
Written By: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola

RYAN’S REVIEW

How funny it is that so soon after we review Monster’s Ball we should come to another love story so equally awkward and awesome.  I think on paper the love story of a teenage girl and a khaki scout running away together to prematurely get married doesn’t sound so good but with the right guy at the helm it can become magic. I’ll admit that there are times during this movie that I feel a bit awkward because the stars are so young but it really takes nothing away from how cute and romantic their relationship is. Like all Wes Anderson movies this one is built on outstanding performances from a rich cast to go along with smart dialogue and unique direction.

I think Wes Anderson is one of the smartest filmmakers out there today.  Like a solo Coen Brothers act that makes something with a style of his own that never fails to be different and interesting.  I would never insult the man by trying to diagnose him myself.  I wholeheartedly believe this man more than most to be smarter than myself and I have no business trying to put his work under a microscope.  It’s incredible, its original, and it is a reminder to me that there are still fresh movies being made during this age of big budget special effects monsters. Wes Anderson is a director that knows how to develop characters during the time constraints of a film.  He draws top tier actors to his films and puts them all in a position to play a really memorable role. I don’t know where he found his two stars for this film but I thought the love struck couple was played by some outstanding young actors.  The supporting cast is as good as any I have ever seen yet these two kids manage to still really distinguish themselves. The star crossed lovers, Sam and Suzy, were played by Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward.  I don’t know what the future holds for them but they have the talent to grow into greats one day.

This was the first Wes Anderson film to feature Ed Norton and I hope we see more collaborations between the two.  I am and have long since been a big fan of Ed Norton. I do not know what’s been up with him for the last decade or so. He really blew up in the late 90s and early 2000s playing parts that left quite an impression on me.  Since then the only noteworthy thing he has done has been The Incredible Hulk and although I thought he was great as the mean green machine he burned bridges with the studio.  That movie was to be part of the cannon of films being made around The Avengers franchise but when Norton got into a dispute with the studio over a writing credit he was dropped like a bad habit.  His character was replaced for the big show and as a result there is a good possibility we don’t see anymore solo Hulk films for quite a while.  I think it’s a shame because I liked Norton as Bruce Banner and I would have liked to see more of his Hulk movies.  In this film he is awesome as Scout Master Ward and I think he fits in nicely with the Wes Anderson crew.

Bruce Willis and Frances McDormand were also collaborating with Anderson for the first time in this film and like Norton I think they fit in perfectly.  They are both in points of their careers where they can seemingly do no wrong when given the right opportunity.  For all his talent I think Bruce Willis makes a lot of crap these days but I am specifically thinking of the recent Die Hard sequels.  The man is too good of an actor to keep beating a dead horse in my opinion.  McDormand on the other hand doesn’t make stupid movies, and I love her for it.  Great actress that can never get enough credit.

The Wes Anderson regulars know what he wants now and their performances in his movies are always perfect.  Bill Murray is a legend and I love everything that he does.  He continues to be part of incredible films and I specifically love the way he has grown as an actor and entertainer over the long haul of his career.  Jason Schwartzman always plays an interesting character and this film is no different.  I have loved Schwartzman since his portrayal as “Cool Ethan” in one of my favorite comedies of all time, Slackers. That movie is largely forgotten and I rarely meet anybody who has even seen it but he is so damn funny in it.  In this film I specifically like the slow motion scene when Sam and Suzy are leaving the chapel as “man and wife” having just been wed by Schwartzman.

I have loved each and every film that Wes Anderson has made and this one is obviously no different.  I look forward to his most recent film, Grand Budapest Hotel, because I haven’t seen it yet.  Despite not seeing it I have already bought it and expect it on my doorstep the day it is released to video.  I have that much faith in Anderson that I will buy what he has made whether I have seen it or heard anything about it or not.  That isn’t something I can say for too many directors but I have no doubts about this one.  A truly remarkable filmmaker and in my opinion each and everything he does is worth your time.  He is still a young director so I hope we have a lot more to look forward to from him in the future.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I just love this adorable movie. It’s an interesting little love story about two kids, who I feel in the end teach everyone a little something about love. It takes a special kind of actor to pull off any Wes Anderson film, and I think he always does a fantastic job of finding actors who can portray so much depth even though they are mostly melancholy the entire film. Another note worthy thing about a Wes Anderson film is the opening credits. They are the most artistic in the business. It doesn’t get much better from an artistic opinion.

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This is how you fit everyone in the movie into the poster in an effective way. No cheesy glows and fading, floating faces. One big group shot. Any other movie and this might be cheesy as well, but not this movie. Because it’s too intentional. It works. The coloring matches the movie and the scenery matches the plot. The typography is a little hard to read since the value of the yellow is really close to the blue behind it, but it’s strange and out of place because of the fancy script; yet this too works simply because everything in his movies are strange and out of place. Yes, I will admit I am biased, but this poster works for me. I was already interested in seeing the movie because it’s Wes Anderson, but just in case…the poster also makes me want to watch.

NEXT MOVIE: Multiplicity (1996)

Love Actually

Year: 2003
Directed By: Richard Curtis
Written By: Richard Curtis

RYAN’S REVIEW

It’s Christmas time and we have the happy coincidence to start the month with a Christmas themed film.  We aren’t going to do a themed month for the holiday like we did in October but this just happened to be our next film and it couldn’t have come at a better time.  This is a movie I have no qualms about admitting to how much I like.  It’s a chick flick if I have ever seen one and it took Amber quite a while to twist my arm into seeing it.  Once she did I was thoroughly surprised with how much I enjoyed the film and it’s provides me with a rare opportunity to recommend a film I normally wouldn’t.  This movie may fit every possible requirement to qualify as a chick flick but the movie is both funny and heartfelt.  It’s a touching film that even the most stone hearted man might find himself both laughing and crying over.

There could be plenty to cover in this film but I’m inclined to keep it simple on this one.  While I did like the film, it is what it is and I am not going to over analyze a chick flick.  I specifically like Bill Nighy in this movie.  He is a really funny actor that I have liked in many movies but in this one he is just over the top funny.  “Kids, don’t buy drugs….become a rock star and they give them to you for free!” I love the guy that randomly buys a plane ticket to America to marvel the women here with his British accent.  The fact that it works so well for him is hilarious because it is probably true.  While exaggerated in this movie there is still plenty of truth to the idea that American women will fall all over any English guy just because of his voice.  I love the stand-in actors played by Martin Freeman and Joanna Page. The way they keep having small talk while simulating sex scenes is hilarious.  It’s really funny that this guy is building up the courage to ask a woman out while he is going through the motions of sex with her.  The casual way he responds to the director’s suggestion that he massage her breasts is so funny.  It’s a bit sappy, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to really liking the Colin Firth story line too.  That part of the story is in full blown chick flick mode but it’s clever and touching all the same. I normally wouldn’t admit to it but the story line got me on a deep down lovey dovey level that doesn’t surface very often.

There is one part of this film that I absolutely hate and it’s the Andrew Lincoln/Keira Knightley/Chiwetel Ejiofor story. The film starts with Knightley and Ejiofor getting married and Andrew Lincoln is Ejiofor’s best man and best friend.  Lincoln is secretly in love with Knightley though and the story culminates at the end with Lincoln secretly professing the love he knows he can never act on for Knightley to her. I think that Ejiofor would be justified in beating his best friend into the dirt after that scene and always regret that it doesn’t happen when I watch the film. What kind of man has feelings like that for his best friend’s wife and then has the nerve to tell her such after she is already married? It’s bad enough that he simply feels that way but it’s the kind of feeling you take to your grave.  His little moment in the end when he lets her read his feelings while his best friend sits unknowingly upstairs is shameful.  It’s cool to look back at this movie now that Andrew Lincoln has reached stardom as Rick Grimes on The Walking Deadbut it’s disappointing to see him play such a douche bag.  Yeah you can look at this movie and say things like “he didn’t actually do anything wrong” or “he never acted on his feelings” but he did.  His actions would only lead to an inevitable affair later down the road one way or another.  They could pick up this story line for a sequel and call it “Divorce Actually.”

There are plenty of other great story lines and performances in this movie as well.  I typically despise Hugh Grant but must admit he delivered a good performance in this movie as the British Prime Minister.  I also specifically like the casting of Billy Bob Thorton as the American President.  He seems to be a bit of a combination President merging qualities from both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.  A blasphemous thing to do politically from an American point of view but they can get away with it in a film set in Britain.  I have always been a big fan of Alan Rickman but his role in this movie isn’t the best.  It’s not because of his performance just because of how the role was written.  I feel bad for this guy really because any of us can fall victim to what he went through.  He doesn’t go out looking to start an affair but when a really attractive woman relentlessly pursues him he is powerless to stop it.  He is in the wrong to pursue at all, clearly, but like the previously mentioned American President he was just couldn’t stop himself in the face of a woman throwing herself at him.

Now that I have already mentioned doing this review briefly it didn’t take long for my thoughts to quickly add up.  The last thing I want to mention is the role of Liam Neeson.  A very nice story that he performs well in.  I have joked many times since seeing this movie that my wife is in love with Liam Neeson because of how she reacted to the part.  I’ll set the record straight now. Amber isn’t really in love with Liam Neeson, but this is the movie that started the joke I use to annoy her so.  I like Neeson but don’t understand why he has lowered himself to some of the silly type of film roles he takes now.  I’m specifically talking about Taken and its sequel.  I have heard so many people talk about how good those movies were and I want to look at all of them and ask “why???” Liam Neeson isn’t Jack Bauer or John Rambo and that’s all aside from the point that I think the time for movies like Taken was in the 90s.  Liam Neeson can do better. We see that he is capable of more in this movie specifically, and I literally think he is doing himself a disservice with his action roles.

This is a good movie and a perfect one to see during this holiday season.  There is no shortage of good Christmas films out there and this one belongs in the rotation of such.  When it comes to a chick flick, a guy could sit through a lot worse because not only does this movie not suck but it is quite funny.  So, gentlemen, if you want to please your spouses this holiday season with a film geared more toward her taste than yours then check this film out.  I know it is probably a really appetizing idea to see Christmas Vacation for the 100th time because it never gets old but this one will make her really happy and you will probably find yourself laughing much more than you would have expected.  This movie is without doubt worth your time to see.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I never wanted to watch this movie, let alone love it as much as I do. This is one of my absolute favorites. I really love how it takes different love stories all going on in the same area and ties the people together. The ultimate message of the story is that “love actually is all around us.”

loveactuallyLet’s montage another poster you guys! They managed to fit 10 different people on this poster. And on top of that they gift wrapped the poster. Ugh I hate it. I think it would have been prettier and more effective if it didn’t look like such a cheesy holiday movie poster. The home screen for the DVD is beautiful. It shows a sliced up heart moving in pieces. It is really a strong graphic. I think it would have suited here too. And these people have all already made such a name for themselves that their faces aren’t even needed. I think they could have listed them and it would have been just as effective as their faces.

I am sorry to have to say I hate this poster when I love the movie so much. It’s unfortunate, but true. The typography of the title is okay, not amazing, so at least it has that.

NEXT MOVIE: Machete (2010)

Ever After: A Cinderella Story

Year: 1998
Directed By: Andy Tennant
Written By: Susannah Grant

RYAN’S REVIEW

If I put too much effort into this review I would have to get up and take a long wondering look at myself in the mirror because I wouldn’t know the guy looking back at me.  This is a movie made for fourteen year old girls and  it was a real challenge for me just to sit through half of it.  I remember this movie being in the family collection among all the adrenaline fueled action movies when I was younger.  It was for my sisters, and now it is in our collection for my wife.  Undoubtedly my daughters will one day identify with this silly movie as well so I suppose it should stay on the movie rack.  If you are a teenage girl then by all means see this because I suppose it is worth your time.  Otherwise keep channel surfing because you will find something more interesting in a heartbeat.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Oh emm gee…he like didn’t even write about the actors in this movie.

This movie is definitely for a fourteen year old girl, but I still love it. I loved it then and I love it like I will always love Clueless. This movie stars Drew Barrymore as the poor little girl whose father dies early in the movie, leaving her with a stepmother she barely knows and her two step-sisters. (A classic Cinderella story.) Her evil stepmother is played by the great Anjelica Huston who is a favorite of Wes Anderson, a personal movie hero to both Ryan and myself. They play very well opposite each other, and I do believe Angelica Huston is very, very good at playing a bad guy. This movie plays out just like Cinderella. It is very sappy and it is very much for the fourteen year old girl inside yourself.

NEXT MOVIE: E.T.: Extra-Terrestrial 

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Year: 2004
Directed By: Michel Gondry
Written By: Charlie Kaufman

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is one of the most interesting films I have ever seen, if not the most interesting. It is like no other movie ever, a true original delivered by one of the most out of the box writers out there.  Charlie Kaufman is on another level when it comes to writing – he is a genius.  This movie is a great example of how imaginative and different he is; it is such a crazy movie. He is more known for his other films like Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, but this has always been my favorite of his films, with Adaptation being an extremely close second. On the DVD cover Peter Travers of Rolling Stones magazine is quoted describing this movie as “A smart, sexy, and seriously funny comedy.” That leads me to wonder if he actually saw the film.  I would hardly call it funny at all much less describe it as “a seriously funny comedy.” This movie is about love and loss, pain and heartache, and the emotional roller coaster relationships tend to be.  I find myself having difficulty trying to categorize it because it is so different than everything else. I considered leaving it as a lone “uncategorized” film before settling on just creating a new category for “love story,” but never once considered placing it in comedy.

This movie is more like a journey than a story. It’s a journey through the mind and memory that is made perfectly.   Charlie Kaufman really outdid himself with this one, and Michel Gondry did an excellent job funneling Kaufman’s ideas onto the screen. I am not familiar with Gondry but this movie alone makes me interested in anything else he has ever made.  He had a great cast to work with on this film as well.  I have always been a fan of Jim Carrey’s efforts to take more serious roles and I think this is his best one. He does an excellent job in this movie and he deserves more recognition for the role.  Opposite Carrey was Kate Winslet, who is such a wonderful actress.  She is beautiful even with those awful colors died in her hair and she brings her talents to the screen in top form.  She is probably one of the most natural actresses I have ever watched and she has the ability to really bring a character to life in unique ways.  Kirsten Dunst is on hand in this movie as well with a great scene where she is braless in a tank top.  I have always admired Dunst, although I think her greatest performance was her first one, when she was a little girl in Interview with a Vampire. Dunst doesn’t do enough movies of late and that is a shame, I have liked many of her films.  Elijah Wood was trying to distance himself from the role of Frodo Baggins around this time to avoid being typecast but I think he made a mistake choosing this one.  He plays such a creepy guy that I think it hurt his image. He then went on to play an even creepier guy in Sin CityI think Tom Wilkinson brought a lot to the film with his role as the doctor who specializes in erasing unwanted memories. Mark Ruffalo did a decent job but nothing distinguishing and I haven’t figured out quite what people see in him as an actor.

This movie has such an interesting story and we can all relate to it.  Who hasn’t been through a messy break-up they would love to forget.  Who hasn’t lost a loved one and been overwhelmed by the grief and heartache? When Carrey’s character finds out what his ex has done it hurts him, he feels the pain of that loss and can’t live with it.  He decides to go through the same procedure and realizes in the middle of it that he made a horrible mistake.  When we exit relationships the reasons for the break-up are the freshest things on our mind and it seems like erasing them would be an easy decision.  It comes with a cost though, Carrey soon gets to the memories that made him fall in love with Winslet and he isn’t willing to sacrifice those. He desperately does everything he can in order to save the love of his life from being erased but ultimately fails, sort of. I think the overall theme of the movie is that true love finds a way, and it does as we see.  Sometimes certain people belong together.  Relationships are a rocky business and they can sometimes take all our strength to persevere.  I think it takes an understanding of that in order to make a relationship work, and all too often people aren’t lucky enough to figure it out.

This movie taught me a lot about love, and even more about relationships.  In an interesting way it has always had a strange ability to make me fall so much more in love with my wife and that makes me appreciate it even more.  This movie doesn’t hold a spot in my favorites of all time but I do think it is one of the most amazing films I have ever seen.  I love this movie and encourage anybody I can to see it.  I know very few people who have seen it though so I would like to take the opportunity to encourage anybody that reads this to go out of their way to see it.  It starts off kind of slow but quickly turns into something completely different, it is an awesome movie that is more than worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Ah, finally. We get to my list of all-time favorite movies. This is in my top five. I love this movie with all of my heart. I asked myself what I would say about this strange, original movie and here is what I think. I am not a huge fan of romantic comedies. I don’t really like the same ol’ same ol’ storyline that you can practically predict. Instead, I like the movie that shows what love is really like. This movie is a love story, but not in the classic way. It is a love story in a true way. The way that real love is nuts. You do things you never thought possible when you are in love. Love is absurd and makes people nuts. This film shows that.

This movie always makes me love Ryan more than I already do. I know how we were at first. All crazy in love. If there were such a technology such as memory erasing, we both would have done it already. But, in my heart I know without doubt we would find our way back together, somehow. It’s sappy, but it’s true. I love this movie so much because it reminds me how much I love Ryan.

Of course I think you should watch this film if you haven’t already. It is clever and witty and includes all the little details that make a movie worth watching and re-watching.

NEXT MOVIE: EuroTrip (2004)

Casablanca

Year: 1942
Directed By: Michael Curtiz
Written By: Julius and Philip Epstein

RYAN’S REVIEW

I was still in high school when I fell in love with this movie, which I think speaks volume about how good the movie is.  It is a classic that can still find an audience 60 years later in the youth of film loving America.  I have heard this called one of the greatest movies ever made and when you see it I think that it backs up the statement.  This movie stars an iconic actor synonymous with a film era, a beautiful female lead, great supporting actors, and a fantastic story.  Casablanca is about love and loss, heartache, desperation, overcoming emotion, and standing up for what is right.  It’s a fantastic and inspiring film that also has a political message about a lesser talked about WWII problem.

During World War II there was a path that refugees took while trying desperately to escape the war and the Nazi concentration camps.  This path is outlined in the beginning of the film and it leads right to Casablanca, where people have to wait until money or influence can get them on a plane to the next stop on the way to safety in America.  Humphrey Bogart plays Rick, an American who runs a nightclub in Casablanca.  Rick is a popular and somewhat influential man in Casablanca. He is a man scarred by a broken heart and turned cynical for reasons we don’t know at first.  Rick is content to mind his own business and stay out of politics until a very famous political refugee reaches Casablanca.  Paul Henreid plays Victor Laszlo, a person of great importance to the French resistance and the Nazis really want to stop him from reaching America.  To Rick’s shock Laszlo is accompanied by the woman who broke him, the long-lost love that turned him into the cynical man that he is.  Ingrid Bergman plays Ilsa, who was Rick’s woman in another life, but left him suddenly and took his heart with her.  The story that goes on from there is captivating and incredible. There are other notable roles in the film as well, Claude Rains is very good as Captain Renault. Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet also make great cameos in the film.

Every time I watch this movie I am reminded about how much I love it.  It really is a perfect movie.  It was made during a time when studios still owned actors and Humphrey Bogart was Warner Brother’s guy.  Bogart has an interesting story behind him.  Bogart appeared in something like 40 movies as an extra as he slowly made his way to the top, playing hitmen and mobsters usually.  Warner Brothers didn’t think he had what it took to be a leading man, especially in a romantic film like Casablanca. The guy does look great in a tux though, and he made smoking look so cool.  It should come as no surprise that he eventually died of lung cancer, but he wouldn’t have been the same without the smokes, they were part of who he was.  I have always identified with the character he plays in this film. Rick Blaine had a great influence on the person I was when I was 16-18 and there are still elements of his character surviving in my persona today.  It’s from Rick Blaine that I learned the power of women.  Women hold all the power in reality, they can take a lively man and turn him into a shell by capturing his heart. You can have other women, just as Rick did, but none of them matter.  No other woman really matters anymore when one captured your heart and made off with it. That woman completes you and without her you are a different person. All men who have loved and loss can appreciate this film because we know what Rick is going through.

I have mentioned before that I was raised by movies, in nearly every way the characters that I have watched and studied have made me who I am today.  This movie specifically taught me many things when I had a lot of things I needed to learn.  What makes it such a special movie is that watching it now I can see there is even more I could learn from this film.  It really is a great movie and I hope I have talked you into giving it a chance if you haven’t seen it.  This is a great movie and it is more than worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Honestly, you should already know the value of this film. A true classic. Here are some memorable quotes you probably already know, just maybe didn’t know where they were from.

“Here’s Looking At You Kid.” – Humphrey Bogart

“Major Strasser has been shot. Round up the usual suspects.” – Claude Rains

“Play It Sam. Play As Time Goes By.” – Ingrid Bergman

“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world she walks into mine.” – Humphrey Bogart

“Louis, I think this is the beginning for a beautiful friendship.” – Humphrey Bogart

“If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not on it, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But soon and for the rest of your life.” – Humphrey Bogart

“Kiss me. Kiss me as though it were the last time.” – Ingrid Bergman

“Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble. But it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.” – Humphrey Bogart

NEXT MOVIE: Casino (1995)