Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Whisper of the Heart" Review

This anime film was produced by Studio Ghibli, as all my latest favorite anime films are, and written by the great Japanese storyteller Hayao Miyazaki. It's a wonderful romantic story, about a girl who at first reads fairy-tale stories all the time when she should be focusing on her junior-high school studies, but then becomes a writer after falling in love with a nice guy, even when he had to go to Italy to follow his dream a violin-maker. The story is a lot more involved than that, but that's all the details I'm going to share. You'll have to find out the rest by watching the brilliantly made movie. It's got breath-taking animation, and takes place in a Japanese city, which was pretty great for me since I've never been there. I sure would love to go to Japan someday, I really respect their cultural values, like bowing all the time in respect to elders, and being generally friendly. It's just not the same in America, I find. I love the characters and sets and the graceful movement that comes with slice-of-life anime films like this one. It makes it seem sooooo real!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Fame" Review

I'm here to talk about the movie I watched in the theater tonight, the 2009 remake of the 1980 film "Fame", a story of various students of the New York High School of Performing Arts. The film follows them and their studies from auditions to graduation. First off, before I really get started reviewing this movie, let me just say that I've seen the original "Fame", so I have with what to compare this movie too. In my humble opinion, this millennium's version was much better by virtue of it's filming, music, choreography, acting, and pacing. The 1980 film was grittier and more intense, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy watching it. I just liked watching the remake better.

One of the things I really admired was the voice of Naturi Naughton, who played a girl named Denise in the film. At first she only plays classical piano (thanks apparently to an oppressive dad who doesn't want her doing anything else, and an oppressed mom who won't say otherwise), but then her friends (and the audience, and even her parents) discover what fine vocals she has. I loved it!

I enjoyed being a witness to such a spectacle, and it was a welcome relief after the previews of such films as "Couple's Retreat", "All About Steve", and "September Issue". If I'm going to be a satisfied pop-culture consumer, I only want the quality stuff, or content of sentimental/historical value.
Goodnight everybody! (Remember, Yakko backwards is Okkay! Dangit, I'll do anything to stick an Animaniac in my blogpost, won't I?)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Julie & Julia" Review

Oh. My. Gahd! Have you seen this movie? You have got to see this movie!

Meryl Streep as Julia Child was absolutely sensational! I mean, I had no idea who Julia Child actually was, but she's such a wonderful character!

Amy Adams as the author of the book of the same name, Julie Powell, was adorable. The main idea is that Julie cooks every single recipe in Julia Child's famous cookbook, all 524 of them, in only one year! And she blogs about it all!
Masterfully woven into this story is the life of Julia Child and how she started cooking as a hobby and began working on her cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". Both women get wonderful love and support from their husbands, which is truly an admirable thing to show in a movie.

Now, I'll only give this complaint: I'm a vegetarian, so anytime somebody cooks, eats, or talks about how delicious meat is, I'm not cringing or giving loud sighs, but I am thinking to myself, "Alright, enough already, next part please." There's a part in the movie where Julie cooks 3 lobsters, and she's all nervous about killing them and all. It was so interesting and funny to see how other people actually go about preparing home-cooked lobster, because I know I would never go about doing it myself.

Well, besides all the food involved, the movie was above and beyond fantastic! (I so love using extremely positive adjectives.) I felt so very good after walking out of the theater with my family and talking about our favorite parts on the car-ride home. On an unrelated note, I had fun with my brother Adam, making him laugh by pretending my arms were his arms and doing goofy things with them. You ever played that sort of game? Done right, it's hilarious!

Goodnight, god bless. Check out my Art Blog for kicks.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ponyo Movie Review

Tonight, we went to the theater in Tamarac While Benny, Shira, and Danny saw "The Hangover", Adam, Bettina and I saw the movie "Ponyo".
"Ponyo" is a very sweet anime film that makes me think that it's the japanese version of the Little Mermaid story. It's about a 5-year-old boy named Sosuke (pronounced Sos-KAY) who finds a magical fish who he names Ponyo. During the course of the movie, Ponyo gradually turns into a human girl, and for Ponyo to stay a human forever, Sosuke needs to prove that he can love her no matter what form she's in. As usual in an anime film (especially one directed by Hayao Miyazaki), the animation is absolutely gorgeous! Smooth, realistic, colorful, capturing the mundane and turning it into beauty and grace, simple, yet incredibly intricate. These are just some of the many adjectives that may be used to describe the animation of Ponyo. It is an excellent example of a family film, and I'll bet, without a doubt, that if Pixar's "UP" doesn't win the Oscar for Best Animated Film, then "Ponyo" will.

Monday, October 5, 2009

"Tin Men"/"Citizen Kane" reviews + Day with Danny

I have done it! It was a close one, I almost didn't write a blog post today, but here it is, read it and don't weep (hey, it's not a bad blog)! I give to you two fine reviews of movies I have seen today, rather than 2 weeks ago, and a brief description of the days other highlights so I can go to bed with the knowledge that I'll never forget when I watched them and that I passed on my recommendations to you, my readers (are you still out there? Or am I talking to myself? ECHO! echo...echo...echo).

"Tin Men" is an enjoyable comedy that pins Richard Dreyfuss and Danny DeVito against each other as rival aluminum-siding salesmen in the early '60s. That's right, nothing to do with the Land of OZ whatsoever, so sorry to all the Frank L. Baum fans out there, just a couple con-men practicing slick salesmanship. Sprinkled throughout with some catchy hit songs of the era, this flick was fun to watch, and I laughed a lot at Danny and Richards' antics, getting back at each other for some silly fender-bender accident.

This afternoon I have finally seen "Citizen Kane", and let me tell you, this movie isn't for the closed-minded. It's long, it's confusing at times, and it was made in 1941, an era that seems worlds apart from the modern-day flicks we see today. Still, I got a real kick out of finally seeing Orson Welles (who was the hero and inspiration for Maurice LaMarche, the voice of the Animaniacs lab mouse Brain), and I can safely say that I can now spot a "Citizen Kane" reference and understand which part it's from. My favorite part of the movie was this scene where Orson's character, Charles Foster Kane, completely destroys a room, until he comes upon the snow globe which he later drops in the beginning of the movie. (confused? o.O)

Now you might be thinking, what am I doing indulging myself in fictional people, places and events while my favorite uncle Danny is around and available to spend some time with? Well actually he and my parents were out most of the day scouting out some Florida real estate that he's looking to invest in, so he wasn't actually around, per se. However later this evening, after doing some night shopping at Target (got some hot sunny-glasses and sweet new tops using our birthday gift-cards), we did get to hang out with Danny while watching "This is Spinal Tap" and enjoying some homemade pumpkin-flavored ice-cream. ('Tis the season of autumn, god bless pumpkins!) That was some fun.

Goodnight everybody! (Nope, I never get tired of using that catchphrase. Never, never, never! Especially when it applies, it's past midnight now!)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"Honey, I'm home! Oh wait... I'm not married."

This post's title came directly from a quote from Michelle Pfieffer in the movie "Batman Returns" which I just finished watching with my bro and sis. I've been feeling very guilty about not getting around to blogging in around a fortnight, but "Batman Returns" was just so cool I am finally moved to action. However the focus of this post is not entirely Batman related, just be patient and let me get this out of my system, and then I'll let you in on some major developments on the home-front.
"Batman Returns" is a sequel to Tim Burton's successful "Batman" flick (which features Michael Keaton in the title role and Jack Nicholson as the Joker), and it's all about the character development of such Batman villains as The Penguin (Danny DeVito), and Catwoman (Michelle Pfieffer =^.^= Meow!!). There's also this corrupt businessman Max Shreck (Christopher Walkin), who has plans to open a new power-plant in Gotham that will render the city powerless, and to get approval for building it, he needs permission from the mayor, so then in a Tim Burton twist, he attempts to help the Penguin run for mayor!
In any Tim Burton movie, I've come to expect the weird and wonderful as well as the creepy and crazy, and I wasn't disappointed with "Batman Returns". My only comments on the less-than-excellent aspects of the film is that Michael Keaton didn't get nearly enough screen-time for it to fully qualify as a Batman movie; his enemies got plenty of lines and backstory and almost all the Bat had to do was swoop in to save the day whenever the Circus gang attacked. Also, even though it's what I loved most about it, "Batman Returns" is full of nightmare-fuel (a wraparound term meaning creepy parts from the Penguin biting some guy's nose to a guy who actually has the guts and lacks the remorse for pushing someone out of a window to their death), and innuendos that made it past the radar, which might make it unsuitable to watch for children who are squeamish at the sight of blood and still haven't heard about the "birds and the bees".
Overall, I loved watching this movie and it only solidifies my respect for Tim Burton as a filmmaker. The acting was great, the story was great (although the ending could've gone better), the costumes and special effects were top-notch, and the score by Danny Elfman is, as always, incomparable. Check this out at your local library if you have a card, or watch it online, or just buy it on DVD, sheesh, only trying to save you some money!

ANYWAY......(a familiar phrase back from my old sock-puppet show days)
I've had so much cool stuff happen to me and I've been too lazy to write it all down that most of my memories I fear have gone to some sort of "happy-memory-limbo", so I'll just type up what's been going on recently. For one thing me and my family had a happy and mostly uneventful Yom Kippur (seeing as it's a Jewish holiday for atoning for the past year's moral backsliding and not for having a good time doing it), my mom Shira had a birthday yesterday, and my family had pancakes for breakfast, and me and Bettina made cards for her, and we got her an awesome earring making craft book from Borders (she was so totally surprised that we got her anything at all!). Also, my dad's brother, my uncle Danny from Israel came over to our house for a week-long visit, so we're playing hotel here and having a good time. I haven't seen Uncle Danny in 2 years, so it was really wonderful to see him again.

Finally, I would hate to forget to write about these other awesome films that I've happened upon and so I'll just give away the titles and when I watched them, as well as a 10-word review on each one:
"Casablanca" Sept. 22 2009 ~ "Here's looking at you kid" is the best quote ever!

"Transformers" Sept. 25 (or something) 2009 ~ Giant robots fighting, pseudo-science, very awkward teenage-parent relations.

"Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" Oct. 1 2009 ~ Pee-Wee's bike gets stolen, road trip with a Tim Burton flair.

Wow, that was a neat exercise there, reviewing a movie in only 10 words! Of course I could go on and on about what an American treasure "Casablanca" is, how interesting it was to finally see "Transformers" after hearing what a bad rap the sequel got, and getting introduced to the wit and child-like wonder of "Pee-Wee Herman", but I don't think I would do a good job going all out about movies no matter how much of a film-geek I am. I'll end this post by saying I intend to write at least one post every day that Uncle Danny stays at our house, and if I don't deliver, why then I'll...I'll...
I'll enter NaNoWriMo along with my sister and try to write a 50,000 word novel from the beginning to the end of the month of November. If I do write one post a day for seven days, then I am excused from this unusual method of making up for lost time. I swear, Girl-Scout Honor! (I was a girl scout for only a few months as a 10-year-old, and I never sold a box of cookies, just to dispel any assumptions.) Bye now!