29 January 2011

Sundance Movies #4 & #5

Margin Call

What if you knew about the bad economic times to come and you could save your company from a huge lost at the expense of those you sale your stocks to?

That is the dilemma faced by several employees at a company right before the last economic disaster. Sam (Kevin Spacey), Will (Paul Bettany), Peter (Zachary Quinto), and Seth (Penn Badgley) discover that the stocks are worthless on the day that their company lays off most of their department and the Risk Management guy who finds part of the mystery. The film doesn't skimp on the confusing financial jargon but that doesn't matter. The audience is glued to these men and women as they try to make difficult decisions while spewing witty and reflective dialogue.

POPCORN: 3 of 4


Do not mistake this film for fluffy emo story about a sparkly vampire that just wants to be understood. This gutsy project was written and directed by Shunjai Iwai. He tells a strange tell about Simon (Kevin Zegers), a 28-year-old biology teacher who drinks the blood of the victims he meets on a suicide website. This artsy flick takes several existential turns with the introduction of a vampire loving club with another sadistic killer and several suicidal women gravitating toward Simon. The quirkiness of the film and the amazing acting by Zegers does not make up for the awkwardness of the editing and the repetitive music score. There were a few moments of hilarity brought by Laura (Rachel Leigh Cook), a girl that believes she's Simon's girlfriend after only one date.

POPCORN: 2 of 4

26 January 2011

Charlie Hunnam and Freddie Highmore star in films 2 and 3

As the week progresses, I find that my movie watching ability has not waned. I love cinema. I love it... probably because for a few hours I'm able to escape into the world that another person has (or should I say other people have) created.

Tuesday's flick was a serious story about a man on a ledge. Gavin (played by Charlie Hunnam from Sons of Anarchy fame) walks out and stands on the ledge of a tall skyscraper building. He doesn't seem like he wants to be there and as he tells his tale to a cop (Terrance Howard) the audience is able to see why he ended up so high up. The film has really two possible endings: he jumps or he doesn't jump. As the story of why he's going to kill himself unravels, the audience begins to realize that there is more to Gavin than meets the eye. The film takes shape in the form of a tragedy, a love story, a family drama, a thriller, a philosophical reflection piece, and even highlights a comedic moment or two. "The Ledge" features four characters that all have their own baggage of shame and heartache. Their struggles make you like and dislike their actions (no character is completely innocent). But the end is always looming. Will Gavin jump?

I would recommend this movie to those who don't mind sitting on the edge of their theater chairs while contemplating morality, religion, death, love and other larger issues throughout "The Ledge."

POPCORNS: 3 of 4

Wednesday's film was a little more lighthearted. "Homework," of course, focused on high school student, George, who doesn't do his homework. Any of it. Ever.

Brit actor, Freddie Highmore, played the New York-born teen who's attending an upper crust prep school with intelligence and showcased the off-beat nature while delivering exquisite lines and subtle gestures. The story begins to unfold when George takes the rap for Sally's (Emma Roberts) smoking on school grounds. When Sally thanks him, she begins to open up his quiet and withdrawn nature and quiet, simple relationship begins to bloom.

Screenwriter/director, Gavin Wiesen, did a fabulous job in capturing realistic, yet intelligent, high school students by the incredible dialogue featured in "Homework." Some of the quotables would be lines such as 'Teflon slacker' or the comment about how Valentine's day is commercial. The film also captures little (and often hilarious) moments of realism, for example, showcasing George's anguish by having him play a sad song on repeat for days as he sulks over a situation.

I would recommend this film to anyone. It's reminiscent of other film fest movies such as "500 Days of Summer" that take a new or simple approach to that crazy little thing we call love.

POPCORNS: 3 of 4

24 January 2011

Sundance Movie #1: The Guard

The film begins with a crash... literally. The camera steadily follows a car packed tight with five teen boys who are speeding around Ireland's vast countryside while poppin' pills and drinking liquor. The sounds of N.E.R.D fills the speakers alongside the quick gear shifting as the red tin can (AKA car from the UK that wouldn't pass a US safety inspection) swerves across the two-lane road. Captivated, the audience waits for the inevitable but it doesn't come. The car just weaves back and forth.

Cut to the film's star, Brendan Gleeson, who's playing Boyle, an Irish guard (or cop) zoning out effectively in his parked Garda car's speed trap. With the camera straight on Boyle in his car, the five Irish teens speed past the disinterested cop and the theater is flooded with the sound of a car crash. Gleeson doesn't react but leisurely takes his time to get out of the car, inspect the now five dead teens sprawled out along the road, and their tiny red car that is now flipped over after hitting a rock wall. Boyle searches for what you think is evidence or signs of life until he finds the pills, states that the kid's mom wouldn't be happy to find those, opens the bag, and drops acid.

A dark comedy "The Guard" features unorthodox humor and a refreshing lack of politically correctness. Gleeson's Boyle is a three dimensional character who is good at his job, likes to shag prostitutes, and always seems to make you laugh at what mainstream media would call 'inappropriate comments.' The other additions to the cast, Liam Cunningham, and Mark Strong - to name a few, swirl around Boyle's as he tries to bust a drug smuggling ring with an F.B.I. agent played by Don Cheadle.

Writer/director John Michael McDonagh did an amazing job showcasing a side of Ireland that isn't Dublin (funnier if you've seen the movie) by bringing a witty lead character who doesn't apologize for who he is... and even with screenplay's constant jabs toward Americans, English, and even Ireland you walk away loving the characters and the story that came alive on screen.


RATING 4 out of 4 popcorns

17 January 2011

Back to the Workout Workout

When you exercise do you feel like an elephant trying to wear roller skates?


I met up with my good - and evil exercise-inflicting - friend, Lisa, who tortured me with some easy workout moves. They were easier exercises but since I've been out of the game for a while my abs and thighs are feeling the burn.

All I can say is that after sitting on my chubby behind all day yesterday drooling over Michael Fassbender (Mmm... Michael) in "Hex," this little step toward a healthy activity will help me reach my Run a Mile target by working out so I don't feel so... bleh!

01 January 2011

Run Fat Girl Fun - after tweaking my back

With a fun back injury from shoveling a couple of feet of snow (ya, I'm that cool), I wasn't able to jump into the 2011 Mission on January 3rd like I had planned.

Last year (as in New Year's Eve) started with a painful bang and a blackout and a half.

The first order of New Year's Eve was to get dressed. Since I wasn't showering before I shoveled snow I thought I get in some grubby clothes which included my Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. shirt, jeans with holes, socks from the day before, and my RSL hat to hide my unkept hair - a seriously awesome fashion statement.

As I lifted the fifth shovel-full of snow off the walkway from the driveway to the front porch, I was immediately halted by a sharp pain in my back. The sting - felt like a hot poker was being shoved through my back - on the left side just above my hip immobilizing me. I slowly stood straight, squeezed my eyes shut. The pain was deafening... literally, it was like my hearing was being controlled by a bratty child with an iPod's volume knob. I fought the urge to pass out and hobbled to the back door using the shovel as a crutch. When I reached the door, my parents wondered what was wrong. I told them and immediately became nauseated. Great! Just what I needed.

My mother helped me lie down on the couch. She laughed 'with me' as I commented that I felt like I was an 80-year-old woman. New Year's Eve was then spent on the couch with a Mt. Dew and a few of my favorite French films, Amelie, Mic Macs, and The Brotherhood of the Wolf. The New Year rang in just as Amelie finally found her Nino and they, of course, fell madly, crazily in love.

New Year's Day started with an inventive rolling maneuver to get out of bed with my awe-inspiring back spasm. I had stiffened up but, at least, standing and walk/hobbling wasn't too difficult. The morning was going okay as I returned to camping out on the couch. After about an hour of TV and some breakfast, the transformer blew (and not the cool ones that Shia fights in the movies) in my neighbors yard with a loud boom. The next several hours the house began to get chilly but I was fortunate enough to still have to read my book club book, "The Lost Hero."

But a week and a half-ish after my lame back incident, I started to work on Target #1. I think I should've entitled it Run, Fat Girl, Run! I walked about a mile and half at 3.7 mph. I worked up a sweat and decided I would need to step up my game along with revamping my workout playlist for running. I need more from the Run Lola Run soundtrack... cuz it's motivating.