Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Post Grad **

Starring Alexis Bledel, Zachary Gilford, Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch and Carol Burnett.
Rated PG-13.
Directed by Vicky Jenson.
Written by Kelly Fremon.

* *

Reyden Malby (Alexis Bledel) has her future planned out to perfection: get all A’s in high school, nab a full scholarship to a great college, graduate with honors, and get her dream job at a publishing company. But it’s well-known that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Reyden doesn’t get her dream job and she ends up back where she started, living at home with her kooky family.

Unfortunately, Reyden’s “nightmare” situation is a harsh reality for the thousands of recent college graduates across America. The running theme in the film, that a graduate can have the most distinguished credentials, a practiced interview speech and yet still get nowhere in the job market, rings true.

While the subject should be very relatable to “post grads” everywhere, it doesn’t help that Bledel’s acting comes across as dull. She seems about as “devastated” over her jobless situation as someone who just dropped their ice cream cone on the sidewalk. Her shallow acting mixed with several poorly written scenes adds up to some awkward and cringe-worthy moments within the film.

The comedic wiles of Jane Lynch, Michael Keaton, and Carol Burnett add some spice to the film, which is much needed to buffer Bledel’s boring character. But even their punchlines are lacking, due to the writing more than their acting skills.

The most inspiring theme viewers can pull from the movie (and this is a bit of a reach) is that although things don't turn out exactly as planned, graduates still have a vast new world within their reach. There are ample chances to plunge in headfirst and enjoy what life throws their way. Sometimes, living life a little unplanned is the best way to gain fulfillment.

As for Alexis Bledel's acting and Reyden's character, they both could use a little more depth and development. Better to wait until the DVD hits Blockbuster shelves.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife***

Starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana.
Rated PG-13.
Directed by Robert Schwentke.
Screenplay by Bruce Joel Rubin.
Based on the novel, "The Time Traveler's Wife," by Audrey Niffenegger.

* * *

From the time Henry (Eric Bana) was a young boy, he has inexplicably had the power to travel to the past or the future. He can’t seem to control where he travels to. He never knows when he will fade from the present and when he will return. Clare (Rachel McAdams) first meets Henry when she is six. He time travels into her backyard when he is 36. There the seeds are planted for their one-of-a-kind love story.

McAdams and Bana have palpable on-screen chemistry, although McAdams greatly outshines him in many scenes. Her acting is much more natural, genuine, believable. It’s easy to get lost in her character. Bana’s acting seems stiff and at times, awkward.

While the novel provides a level of understanding and richness that wasn’t carried over to the screen, the film still has plenty of charm. Scenes with six-year-old Clare, played by Brooklynn Proulx, and with Henry’s mother (Michelle Nolden), lend a magical feel to the film.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Film Buff Glossary

To start off, I don't claim to be a film buff, only someone who loves going to see movies and who loves to write. This is where that comes together.

Whether you are a film buff, a newbie, or just up for some good reviews, it never hurts to brush up on your film jargon.

This post will be updated regularly.

blockbuster- a film with a huge budget, big stars and lots of explosions. It is expected to be a box office success, to garner a ton of attention for its stars, and to result in action figures and sequels alike. Blockbusters usually come out in the summer.
Examples: "Transformers," "Pirates of the Caribbean," "Jaws," and "Gone With the Wind."

indie film- (independent film) a unique type of movie, often with obscure actors, a soundtrack filled with underground bands, and a dark storyline. Because of all this, a true indie film isn't produced by a big Hollywood production company, it's low-budget and doesn't get anywhere near the attention blockbusters do.
Examples: "Requiem for a Dream," "Garden State," "The Motorcycle Diaries," and "Fargo."

MPAA ratings- the Motion Picture Association of America measures the graphic content in a film with the following ratings:

G (General Audiences: All Ages Permitted.) You can watch G-rated films with youngsters and never have to worry about covering their eyes. "Finding Nemo," "Toy Story," and "Wall-E" are all rated G.

PG (Parental Guidance Suggested: Some Material May Not Be Suited for Children) There is no drug use in PG-rated films, although there may be mild cases of "brief nudity," "profanity" or "depictions of violence." But nothing too shocking that would demand "parental guidance." "Shrek," "Enchanted," and "Rocky" are rated PG.

PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned: Some Material May Be Inappropriate for Children Under 13) Expect a little more swearing, a little more nudity, and a little more violence. "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Independence Day," and "Million Dollar Baby" are rated PG-13.

R (Restricted: Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian) Considered to be adult content. The MPAA suggests that parents refrain from bringing young children to an R-rated movie, which, (can you guess?) may contain a lot more swearing, a lot more nudity, and a lot more violence. "The Reader," "American Pie," and "Almost Famous," are rated R.

NC-17 (No One 17 and Under Admitted) The MPAA makes it clear that NC-17 films are not considered "pornographic" or "obscene" in the legal sense, but rather that the material is not suitable for anyone other than adults. Films such as "Boys Don't Cry," "The Boondock Saints," and "Pulp Fiction," had to edit explicit scenes before they could fit into the more marketable R category.
Click here for more info on the MPAA.