Have you ever experienced times where you really want to see a movie and then find the movie right before (or right when) it starts? That moment of excitement, then to find out that it was worth finding the movie... it's those little things that make me love being a movie geek. Well, I had this happen to me twice a couple weeks ago. For both of the films, it was worth the wait. Then, last week, my mom purchased a film through Pay Per View and wanted me to watch it with her. So, without any further delay (especially with an absence of Movie Monday blogs recently), let me review my latest movie watching experiences!
Christmastime 1989. A group of unique bohemians are living in the East Village in New York City. Mark (Anthony Rapp) is an aspiring filmmaker who was recently dumped by his girlfriend Maureen (Idina Menzel) for another woman, Joanne (Tracie Thoms). Roger (Adam Pascal) is an aspiring musician who likes Mimi (Rosario Dawson), who works at the nearby strip club. Mark and Roger's roommate Tom (Jesse L. Martin) comes home for the holidays, only to get mugged in the street and is found by Angel (Wilson Jermaine Heredia), who is a drag queen that is fighting AIDS. As they all spend the following year struggling to pay rent by their landlord/ former friend Benjamin (Taye Diggs), make a living, and (for some) fighting for their health, they realize how much can change within a year.
What a visually stimulated, character driven, and inspiring musical!!! I've always said that I want to have an eclectic group of friends full of life, dreams and love... and this movie represents those kind of people. Even though many of the characters have to deal with being HIV-positive and AIDS, they don't let that get in the way of living their lives while they still can. I know all too well how much a year can change your life, and all of the characters have gone through major changes. I also love how they blend real life scenarios with bohemian antics... it's makes the entire experience enjoyable. Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
James (Jesse Eisenberg) is a recent high school graduate who takes a summer job at the local amusement park in 1987. On his first day, he is threatened by a customer and his coworker Emily (Kristen Stewart) steps in to diffuse the situation. As the summer goes forward, James realizes he is falling for Emily, who has been having a secret affair with Brad (Ryan Reynolds), the married maintenance man. James also learns that taking the nowhere job has proven to be the perfect job to learn about love, life, and trust before he begins his life as a college student.
For a movie that's considered a comedy, I saw it more as a drama/comedy. It's also a blast from the past, so it has that wonderful, summertime and 80's nostalgia to it. The first thing I noticed about the movie was that the background sound effects for the amusement park were the same ones as Roller Coaster Tycoon (yes, I love that game and played it A LOT). I like the group of people that were cast for the movie... I can relate to all of them and they totally remind me of the kind of people that would work at an amusement park. When James tells a secret to one of his coworkers and she spreads the news like wildfire, I felt bad for Emma but also respected at how well they executed how quickly the gossip mill works between coworkers.. and to think that this was before everyone had cell phones and social networking to share news. It was all done by word of mouth. Who says you can't have fun and enjoy friends without technology??? Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
No Strings Attached
Adam (Ashton Kutcher) and Emma (Natalie Portman) bump into each other occasionally after meeting at a summer camp 15 years ago. On a drunken night, fueled by Adam's father (Kevin Kline) hooking up with an ex-girlfriend of his, he calls every woman in his phone to seek out someone to hook up with sexually. He wakes up in Emma's apartment, naked, and later comes up with a plan to have a sex-only relationship with her. As time goes on, Emma notices that Adam is wanting more than that and tries to not complicate things. However, she finds herself wanting the same thing, and goes to drastic measures to hide that from him, since that will forever change their relationship with one another.
Highly predictable chick flick.... all the way to the end. Why do I still watch movies that I know how it will turn out? Well, for one the actors... and Ashton and Natalie did a pretty convincing job that they were a good on-screen couple. Two... the one liners and the jokes. This movie had a lot of really funny moments, (especially the period scene that I included as the clip) and there were some great one liners that I could find myself using in the future. Even though this one was pretty decent, I'm still holding out for Friends with Benefits (starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis) to be the better film with the same concept. Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.