Film Friday 7/18/14: Benny & Joon

* Apologies for not keeping with this the past few weeks. I have been having multiple computer problems and unfortunately not being able to update this was a consequence of those*

Photo Credit: diaryproject.me

Photo Credit: diaryproject.me

Benny & Joon (1993; Romantic Comedy, Drama; Starring Johnny Depp, Mary Stuart Masterson, Aidan Quinn ; DVD)

There comes a point in every adult sibling’s life when they realize their relationships with their brothers and sisters will ultimately change. One film that manages to capture this moment fairly well is Benny and Joon.

The film tells the tale of Benny (Aidan Quinn), the primary caretaker of his mentally ill sister, Joon (Mary Stuart Masterson). Joon is so ill she can barely leave the house due to an inability to function in the outside world, but the relationship between the siblings works just fine like that. However, everything changes the day Sam (Johnny Depp) comes to town–a modern-day impresario of silent film star Buster Keaton–and this odd man will be the test on the relationship between Benny and Joon after  he and Joon become inexplicably drawn to one another.

The movie has heart, and both occasionally moving and funny moments. Depp proves his mastery at becoming fully engulfed in a character once again, and fans of his work are highly encouraged to see this.

 

Film Friday 6/20/14: The Smallest Show On Earth

Photo Credit: Blackholereviews.blogspot.com

Photo Credit: Blackholereviews.blogspot.com

The Smallest Show on Earth (1957; Comedy; Starring Peter Sellers, Virginia McKenna, Bill Travers & Margaret Rutherford; DVD)

 

Also known as Big Time Operators, The Smallest Show on Earth is an early and delightful example of great ensemble comedy, as it tells a story about not only business ethics, but a little bit of one that pits younger adults against older ones as well.

When Matt (Travers) and Jean (McKenna) inherit a movie theater titled the ‘Flea Pit” from his Great-Uncle, they feel they have no choice but to sell the property off to a more successful theater owner down the street. However, after they learn the other man tries to give them less money than their property is worth, they team up with the three older employees they also inherited (Rutherford, Sellers & Bernard Miles) to turn their theater into a flourishing business. However, after their competition tries to make them falter, things become a lot more tricky–and actions become more criminal.

Overall the comedy is great as an ensemble piece, showcasing the beauty of such a type of story. It can run a little heavy at times on some sight gags, but the effect it all has on the viewer pays off. The movie comes with high recommendations.

 

Film Friday 6/6/14: The Lady Says No

Photo Credit: imdb.com

Photo Credit: imdb.com

The Lady Says No (1951; Comedy; Starring Joan Caulfield, David Niven, James Robertson Justice; DVD)

Most classic comedies are among the greatest in cinema history, but while comedies from this period are generally the best, The Lady Says No is not among the greatest.

The comedy is still good, but not quite as fantastic as others in the period. It tells the story of a woman who writes a best-selling handbook for women which warns them about the dangers of men–but complications arise after a handsome photographer arrives in her town to write a feature story on her.

It’s worth a view, but don’t expect the comedic genius that makes other films of the era so fantastic…it’s still better then some other comedies of the more modern-day variety, but not quite up to the par of the golden age of comedy.

Film Friday 5/30/14: What Happens In Vegas

Photo: IMDB

Photo: IMDB

What Happens In Vegas (2008; Romantic Comedy; Starring Cameron Diaz, Ashton Kutcher, Rob Corddry; DVD)

If you’ve ever wondered how getting drunk and married while in Vegas can change your life forever–this movie certainly tries to warn you of the consequences.

Joy (Diaz) just got dumped, and Jack (Kutcher) just got fired–to drown their sorrows, they both head to Vegas. They meet, get, drunk, get married, and wake up the next morning ready to annul the marriage–which becomes more complicated when a $3 million jackpot is won on a slot machine and both want to claim the prize as their own. But a judge has a different plan for them–he freezes the funds and sentences them to six months of marriage, forcing the two to try and make their marriage work.

While the film does have some moments that are funny and enjoyable, for the most part it follows the same standard romantic comedy conventions, which means there are no surprises as it goes on. Couples with characters by Kutcher and Diaz who each show their highly unlikable sides, it doesn’t become the most pleasant movie to watch.

If you enjoy typical romantic comedy fare, then the film comes with high recommendations, but if you crave a little more from a movie-watching experience, pick something else.

 

Film Friday 5/23/14: Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby

Photo Credit: imdb

Photo Credit: imdb

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006; Action/Comedy/Sport; Starring Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen; DVD)

There are films which engage their audiences to such an extent, that they become a part of culture. Though it would seem like an unlikely candidate, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is one such film.

The comedy focuses on the #1 NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell), who manages to stay on top of the pack thanks to a pact with his childhood best friend and fellow racer (but always #2) Cal Naughton Jr. (John C. Reilly). However, with the arrival of a new French Gay Formula One driver (Sacha Baron Cohen) in town, Ricky will not only need to fight to keep his top spot, but put his talent and devotion on the line as he faces one of his toughest challenges yet.

The movie is a laugh-out-loud riot, the kind fans have expected from the Will Ferrell/Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson comedy machine, but haven’t seen come out quite as good in recent years. Ferrell, an SNL alum, is known for his most stand-out characters and roles, and Ricky Bobby is one of them. Ferrell plays him with a supreme idiocy that is somehow not so moronic that the movie isn’t enjoyable. It’s one of his films where the comedy is so spot on, with quick and witty exchanges of banter, and some of the greatest and most memorable comedy lines in some of recent film’s history.

His supporting cast is equally as excellent, and the film cleverly manages to mix its gags with great political and sports satire. All of the elements of the film just gel together to give the audience a time they won’t forget.

It comes with very high recommendations.

‘Amazing Race’ Recap: ‘Do You Believe In Magic?’ – Season Finale

Teams cross the Las Vegas finish line – and one wins $1 Million

As teams headed for the finish line, they traveled from Wales to Las Vegas, where they would need to get into waiting vehicles that would take them to their first clues.

In the ride to the destination, it was revealed that Rachel had gotten into a fight with the country singers at the airport that resorted in pushing, and revealed she would be bringing her dirty side to the race.

Teams were taken to an abandoned desert, where they were ordered to dig. The game got dirty again with the Brenchels, as they kept throwing dirt they had dug up into the hole Dave and Connor were digging, resulting in yet another confrontation. Finally, teams found a box that told them to open it ans return the contents to David Copperfield.

Teams then headed to the MGM Grand, where they not only encountered David Copperfield himself, but also a roadblock task which would require them to complete a daring escape task. One member of each team would be locked inside a wooden crate and then need to find a key to unlock their shackles, then find an outside lock pick to get out of the box before they are dropped into a set of burning scaffolding. Connor, Jennifer and Rachel did this task.

Connor unlocks his locks quickly, but the move scares Dave when the box drops—and explodes. He becomes scared because he doesn’t know where his son is—prompting Copperfield to say they would call the fire department. However, when Dave turned around, the fireman was Connor.

The next clue told the teams to head to the Neon Boneyard Museum where they were to search fr their next clue. There, they are told to unscrew a light bulb from a question mark sign and take it to the Mirage hotel for their next clue.

Brendon and Rachel try playing dirty again by stealing Jen and Caroline’s tax — but do not succeed.

For part II of this recap click on the following link: Getting close to the finish

Film Friday: Monte Carlo

Photo Credit: Imdb

Photo Credit: Imdb

Monte Carlo (2011; Romantic Comedy; Starring Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, Katie Cassidy, Cory Monteith; DVD)

For a cute adventure comedy geared toward a tween/teen set, Monte Carlo is a fantastic movie. For adults…maybe not as much.

The story follows three Texas girls, Grace (Gomez), Emma (Cassidy) and Meg (Meester) as they travel to Paris. After getting separated from their tour group and realizing Grace is the exact replica of a spoiled rotten socialite named Cordelia Winthrp Scott, the three are whisked a magical, whimsical and romantic adventure as they are swept up in a luxurious and beautiful world unlike any they have ever known. By the time their journey has ended, all three learn not only the power of friendship and love, but find out exactly where they want to be.

The acting is actually not bad for the movie–the performances by the three lead actresses are actually very good, and Gomez convincingly plays both the roles of Grace and Cordelia beautifully. None of them showcase a surprising range or anything, but for the performances they are supposed to give, they all do a phenomenal job.

The only thing that makes the movie better for its teen/tween geared audience is the fact that the plot doesn’t really stretch in a way that adults can find as believable. While we’re supposed to suspend our belief in reality when we sit down to a movie, it can be hard for adults to imagine the adventures happening for these girls that they’re witnesseing–but teens will eat it up

Overall, it’s not a bad waste of time because the movie is enjoyable, and goes quickly. Parents of teen and tween girls should definitely check it out.

‘Glee’-Cap: ‘The Untitled Rachel Berry Project’

Photo Credit: FOX

Photo Credit: FOX

 

Another chapter in the life of ‘New Directions’ Ends In The Season 5 Finale

Everyone is preparing to move on with their lives as yet another chapter comes to an end.

MERCEDES AND SAM:

Mercedes is embarking on a mall tour for her album, and will be performing an original song, “Shakin’ My Head,” with Brittany as a special backup dancer. Santana will join the tour later on, because she is currently filming a new commercial for Yeastistat.

Meanwhile Sam is about to land a huge break with his modeling career. Treasure Trails needs a new spokesman—and after a steamy audition to “Girls on Film,” he gets the gig.

The changing paths in their careers force everyone else to talk to them individually about their relationship-the two need to call it quits because being apart won’t work for them. The two maintain they will work it out. That seems to be the case…until Sam has his photo shoot for the gig—and the photographer kisses him and tries seducing him.

Afterwards, he returns home to Mercedes and apologizes because he thinks he’s cheated on her—though he didn’t sleep with the photographer. Though Mercedes assures him he didn’t do that, she tells him they need to break up because she can’t ask him to wait around for her anymore as far as sex is concerned.

Their journeys end with Mercedes heading to her tour and Sam going back home to Ohio after his dream of being half-naked on a bus advertisement comes true.

KURT/BLAINE/JUNE:

Blaine has unsuccessfully convinced June Dalloway (Shirley Maclaine) to put Kurt in the showcase. She tells him he needs to be honest with Kurt. He begins singing “All Of Me,” and Kurt walks in—which is when Blaine admits the truth. Kurt isn’t in the showcase and never was. Needless to say, he isn’t happy and leaves.

The two talk it out and Blaine says he no longer wants to do the showcase without Kurt, because he’s so important to him. Kurt tells him to do it anyway.

The showcase has arrived and Blaine and June wow the crowd with “No Time at All.” And though June warned him against it, when he is asked to perform an encore, Blaine invites Kurt up onstage with him to sing “American Boy.” However, afterwards, June agrees the two make a good team.

Their chapter ends with them in the loft together, officially living together, on their own.

RACHEL’S TV SHOW:

A writer has been sent to New York to write a script for a pilot of Rachel’s planned television show. However, the writer they send….is weird…random…and just not cool. She’s also writing a show that has nothing to do with Rachel’s life at all.

The initial script is terrible—Rachel’s Gay astronaut dads forgot her birthday, a lesbian Brittany character sleeps with the gay Blaine character, and there’s a coffee rave. After reading, Rachel decided to talk with the writer and change things.

For more, click here.

‘Amazing Race’ Recap: ‘Hei Ho Heidi Ho’

Teams head to Liverpool as they try to make top three

Teams were London bound as they began racing for spots in the final three.

Once there, they drove to Liverpool for Anfield Stadium where they would each have to score two penalty kicks before continuing on with the race.


Photo: CBS ©2013 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Afghanimals were in the lead early, both arriving and finishing the soccer task first. Caroline and Jennifer and Brenchel were the next ones to finish, with Dave and Connor arriving and finishing in last because Connor is really bad at soccer.

From there, teams headed to the Pontcysyllte aqueduct, where they encountered a Roadblock. Here, teams had to learn and perform a passage of traditional Welsh poetry. They would learn it in the 15-minute ride across the aqueduct and recite it to a linguist before receiving their clue.

After the aqueduct, teams headed to the Bolesworth Estate, where they encountered a Detour. In “Shoot It,” teams had to shoot down 16 clay pigeons with a 12-gauge shotgun. Caroline and Jennifer, Dave and Connor and Leo and Jamal chose this one. In “Boot It,” teams had to choose either matching pairs of size 9 or size 11 Wellingtons, fill them with water, and throw them across a course until they crossed the finish line. Brendon and Rachel chose this one.


Photo: CBS ©2013 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

After the Detour, teams headed to Peckforton Castle for the Pit Stop. Dave and Connor placed first, winning not only the first spot in the final three, but also a 7-night trip for two to Fiji. Caroline and Jennifer placed second.

For more, click here.

Film Friday 5/9/14: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Photo Credit: popmatters.com

Photo Credit: popmatters.com

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961; Comedy/Drama/Romance; Starring Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal; DVD)

Audrey Hepburn is considered one of the mot iconic actresses of her time, and while she made countless films that are still considered as part of the golden standard of American filmmaking, one in particular is perhaps still her most iconic–Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Holly Golightly (Hepburn) is a charming socialite with such a zest for life that she can’t bare to make any sorts of commitments–whether the commitment involved a relationship with one man, naming a pet, or even decorating her apartment. Her carefree lifestyle is forever challenged and changed though when new neighbor, writer Paul moves in.

The movie, though a wonderful comedy and a sweet romance, manages to handle the neurosies of its characters beautifully. the acting is also top-notch, with Hepburn truly lighting up the screen.

The movie is highly recommended.