Monday, March 7, 2011

Movie Monday: Emma Stone Takes the Lead, The Origins of Facebook, and a Lizard

Well... I did it. I signed up for a mail order movie rental program. No, not Netflix... Blockbuster. As a former employee to the video store chain, I want to give it a chance. I was given a 30 day free trial (which will convert to $11.99/month) at a store location that is in the middle of closing- they are offering it to keep customers (and I got a free DVD out of it- couldn't resist that!). So if I decide to continue to use it, be prepared to see a lot of newer films in my Movie Monday blogs.

Easy A

Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone), in an attempt to avoid a weekend camping with her best friend's parents, makes up a lie that implies that she lost her virginity to a college freshman. It is overheard and spreads throughout the school. Olive tells the truth to her friend Brandon (Dan Byrd), who then asks if there is a way to further the lie by acting like they had sex. This gives Olive a chance to help others like Brandon by pretending to sleep with them (in exchange for payment- in the form of gift cards). As the rumor mill dives further, Olive finds herself in situations she did not expect and must find a way to save her reputation.

I am starting to get to the point where teen movies are losing my interest. Yes, that can happen when you get older. I'm not saying I'm done with them; it's just that I am picky about the ones I decide to watch (looking for more quality). This one, being a modern day remake of The Scarlet Letter, I couldn't resist. Emma Stone finally gets a leading role, and she did very well. I look forward to seeing her in more leading roles in the future (and that she broadens her horizons past comedy). I loved how many big name actors had supporting roles in this film: Thomas Haden Church, Amanda Bynes, Lisa Kudrow, Stanley Tucci, and many others.

I loved how this movie was approached in a very smart manner, and full of 80's nostalgia. This film paid homage to Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Olive in the shower with a Mohawk), Say Anything (the scene in the yard, with speakers overhead), The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Pretty in Pink. I also loved the fashion decisions that Olive made, especially with the corsets. She had a lot of really cute ones that I would want to own myself (and thank you for acknowledging dress code in high schools in this movie... that omission has always annoyed me in teen flicks). This is a film that I recommend for a guilty pleasure. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Social Network

Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) is a Harvard undergrad. In fall 2003, he creates a site similar to that rates all the females at his university. This shuts down the server and catches the attention of a few fraternity brothers. They present them with an idea for an exclusive social networking site and want Mark to front the project. He ends up doing his own project and calls it The Facebook. After noticing the popularity, Mark expands his site to other schools. Then Facebook explodes into the massive social networking site that it is today, but not without a few lawsuits from the people that helped Mark get him to where he is today.

I've always had an interest in watching movies about the formation of companies (although most of them are documentaries). It's amazing to me how one drunken night in a dorm room perpetuated the beginning of Facebook. Yes, Mark is a confident, know-it-all asshole, but aren't many company CEO's like that, no matter the industry? One of the things that blew my mind was that I had no idea that Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), the Napster guy, was one of the people behind Facebook's success. This is one of those films that you will highly appreciate, but you will also realize that it's a film that you won't find yourself watching over and over again (and yes, I was on Facebook while watching this movie... it seemed highly appropriate to do so). Rating 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.


Rango (Johnny Depp) is a lizard that, through a traffic situation, gets thrown out of his family's car and finds himself in the middle of the desert. After escaping hungry hawks, he finds a local named Beans (Isla Fisher) who takes him to her hometown (named Dirt). After he brags (okay lies) about how he has killed and defeated many others out in the West, he proves his stories to the townsfolk when he somehow kills a hawk. He is made Sheriff and helps the town investigate why the water supply has run dry, but not without a few complications along the way.

This is one of those movies that, if I didn't have a kid, I would not have seen. I was glad to find a lot of adult humor in it. In the first 10 minutes, there is a very obvious reference to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Also, toward the end of the film, there is a Clint Eastwood lookalike driving a golf cart, giving Rango advice. I didn't think it was Eastwood voicing the character; it sounded more like Timothy Olyphant. Turns out I was right. This movie had a lot of the stereotypical western cliches: the stranger walking into a bar causing complete silence from the patrons, the newcomer becoming a sheriff, and lone walks through the desert. I thought it was a pretty decent way to introduce kids to western flicks, even if it was about animals. Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

1 comment:

  1. Been looking forward to seeing Rango. I added Easy A to my Netflix queue due to your review.You made it sound much better than I assumed it would be.