More things that I have seen lately...
I saw this in the theater also, but we rented it again recently to re-watch and I think I almost preferred it on the small screen, which I know is weird. Even knowing what's coming, the movie is still just as emotional/sentimental and I'll admit, I got a little misty-eyed. I mean, c'mon! How could you NOT?
Away We Go
The "indie rock" soundtrack and gentle, quirkiness of this movie made me instantly think of Garden State (in a good way, I like that movie) and at the end when I said "Garden State II?" Ryan laughed and yelled "EXACTLY!" It's a sweet little story about finding home and discovering family featuring actors that you wouldn't ordinarily think of for the leads: John Krazinski and Maya Rudolph, and yet they pull it off perfectly. The beauty of the casting is that it allows you to actually see people you know in these characters and totally relating to them (whereas if it was, say, Nicole Kidman or Keanu Reeves, you'd just be watching a movie about people). I really liked it. Not necessarily an 'owner' but I will probably watch it again with commentary before I return it.
It had been forever since I'd seen this and sometimes you just NEED a little Martians-killing-humans fix, right? So much fun. I forgot so many things about it that it was full of pleasant surprises (Jack Black is the brother who joins the army! With a buzz cut!!) and the ending always makes me laugh... the ultimate defense comes via music. Brilliant! Also, I'd forgotten about how the Martians themselves are NOT CGI, but rather animated, which was a lovely touch and actually holds up quite well to today's CGI-everything movies. Bonus: Lisa Marie. She is soooo elegantly fantastic. I forgot about her in that dress! (that she was sewn in to) and that walk! Wonderful stuff!
Princess and the Frog
This movie blew me away. I was honestly expecting a ho-hum Disney movie with a few catchy songs and not a lot of story and... whoa. Firstly, the animation is GORGEOUS and drove me nearly to distraction trying to take it all in. And having the hand-drawn characters back really gave this film so much vitality! One of the main characters, Charlotte, was so perfectly bouncy and bubbly and bouyant that you practically expected her to float away like a bubble. That kind of energy just hasn't been captured in CGI (yet) and it was so fun to see. She reminded me so much of the characters in Ichabod Crane. LOVE! The story was actually pretty fun and I appreciated that the "dark" parts weren't too dark... or maybe I'm just getting older. The "villian" in this one made me think of Oogie Boogie -- a bad guy, yes, but not knee-tremblingly frightening (like, say Malificent or Ursula), the kind of scary that a child could enjoy (getting the satisfaction of "braving" the bad guy) and all of his scenes were unbelievably beautiful. I loved the art deco art "break ins" here and there to highlight a song or underscore a point. It was absolutely wonderful. Plus, the main character actually has a decent point (for once! In a princess movie to boot!) which may be pretty heavy-handed, but was a welcome departure from all the other princess flicks. She wasn't pining away, waiting to be rescued... she believed in hard work and sacrifice and being a decent person was the way to get ahead in the world. Which was a very nice change. This is definitely a movie that I plan to see again, and will probably buy it too - even if just to underscore the point to Disney that hand-made animation is still very relevant!
Seven Year Itch
An old Marilyn Monroe comedy that is still fantastic! Although it's clearly a "period piece" it still feels very relevant. It's essentially a one-man monologue that is utterly hilarious. Marilyn is cute, as expected, but the leading man, Tom Ewell, is really great. Sure, it's got the famous scene with Marilyn cooling her heels over the subway vent, so you'll get some cultural icon moments too, but overall it's a movie worth seeing -- even if Marilyn weren't in it.
Heaven Can Wait
I'm not sure why we added this to our queue - maybe thinking it was one of the George Burns as God movies? But it was decent. It's a funny story of a pro football player (on the LA Rams, 1978) played by Warren Beatty who dies but isn't quite ready to give up the ghost, so he inhabits someone else's body. It's semi-comedy, semi-drama (feels like the writers - Warren Beatty) couldn't decide which it should be... the comedy parts are pretty silly and semi-laughable. I wouldn't say that this is a FUNNY movie, but it has some decent moments. The parts that were waaaaay too long were the "let's show Warren Beatty being manly" moments, like jogging through Griffith Park. It was screaming for a montage (best montage ever: Team America) but instead was 10 solid minutes of Beatty jogging, lifting weights, etc. One of the things that really stood out was the 1970's casting. The 'leading lady' Julie Christie is a decent looking lady, but nothing at all like the beautiful starlets who took over in the 80's and 90's. It's sort of nice in a sweet nostalgia kind of way to see someone who is pretty but isn't Megan Fox as the lead female actress.
Whoa. This was actually worse than I thought. Ryan liked it, so maybe it's a guy thing. I mean, I expected a jocked out version of an SNL skit - which it was - but it was just so... lacking. The best part was the premise: that the kid wants to make a giant Evel Knievel kind of jump to impress his step father, who is dying. If he makes the jump, he'll earn enough money to save his step father's life... so that he can kick his ass and kill him himself. Sorta funny. The rest was nearly painful to watch.