Thursday, September 22, 2011

Midnight in Paris

Today, my goal will be to prove to you that the following "movie-math" equation is true:

Woody Allen.

A movie-making force of nature: for over 60 years he's been writing, directing, and starring in dozens and dozens of different films, some of which have been hailed as the greatest films of all time ("Annie Hall", "Radio Days", and "Zelig" being some of my favorites).
Paris, France.

One of the largest culture, fashion, cuisine, and artistic hubs of Europe, Paris is well-known by all who don't live under a rock as one of the most magnificent, beautiful cities in the world, whether you pronounce it par-ee or rhyme it with heiress.

"Midnight in Paris"
What I love most about this movie is that every part seems to have been made with great care and attention. It features gorgeous footage of the city of Paris and captures the things that make it great: people, landmarks, streets, shops, all the things that make it such a special place. It pulls you in right away.
Then you've got the main character: the protagonist is played by Owen Wilson, who is a fine example of a Woody Allen stereotype: slightly neurotic, pseudo-intellectual, yet at the same time likable with a dorky charm.
The story is fantastic: without giving away too many spoilers, it involves the main character meeting some of his greatest heroes by way of some magic time-travel plot that doesn't have to make sense to be enjoyed.
The background music, ahhhhhh. 2 words my friends:
Accordians. Rule.

One of the reasons I love to watch great movies is that by the time the movie is over, I'm left feeling smarter than when I came in. Great movies teach me something, or remind me of something I forgot, or show me something I never thought possible.
When I left the theater after watching "Midnight in Paris", I felt great. A good sign that this movie just might be remembered for being one of the modern-classics. In my humble opinion at least.

Even if you've never seen a Woody Allen movie or been to Paris, France before, I highly, highly recommend "Midnight in Paris". Happy viewing!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Crazy Stupid Love

This movie was absolutely hilarious. No beating around the bush about it, this was one of the funniest movies I have ever seen in my (relatively) short life. It is also one of the most romantic movies that I've seen in 2011 so far (I haven't seen "Friends with Benefits" yet, which incidentally was playing at the same time as this movie did at the theater I went to).

What makes this movie so laugh-out-loud worthy, and simultaneously so painfully sweet, cringing-ly realistic (yet obviously fictional), and unthinkably sexy? Is it the stellar acting performances? Yes. The polished, crackling dialogue? For sure. The story of heartbreak, discovery and rediscovery, and yes, love, that even the most diverse audience can relate to? Absolutely.

I mean yeah, it's got divorce, it's got way too much alcohol, and the plot seemed pretty contrived at times, which are usual turn-offs for me when it comes to movie-going, but what kept me figuratively glued to my seat was the desperate desire to find out how every single plot-thread ties itself up in the end.

The laughs that this movie got, I have to say, were well-earned and timed perfectly. There was this one scene where all the characters in the movie get together, and because of all the complex relationships that were present (Steve Carell & Ryan Gosling, Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone, Jonah Bobo & Analeigh Tipton, Analeigh Tipton & Steve Carell, Julianne Moore & Kevin Bacon), the plot comes to a high-boil and the guys are all at each other's throats while the women are all, "What the heck is going on here?"
Hands-down, the best part of the entire movie. You have to watch everything that came before in order to really get it, though.

In the end, you've got real character development, resolved issues, and a strong finish that ties up the whole movie in a big, beautiful bow.

An extra thing that I really admired about "Crazy Stupid Love" was the high production value. The sweeping panning shots, the thoughtful framing of each scene, the subtle yet distinctive background music that gave extra flavor and punch (trivia fact: one of the guys who wrote the music did "Little Miss Sunshine" and the other guy did "The Hangover" and "Date Night"), and again the abundance of talent from the main cast.

Oh my god, I haven't even mentioned Marisa Tomei! What a bombshell! Her part in this movie is so freaking hilarious I even had trouble breathing from laughing so hard! 5 words folks: Funniest, Parent-Teacher-Conference, Ever.

Check this movie out. You'd have to be "crazy" to pass it up. ^_^