Monday, December 29, 2008

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

After a long wait, I was finally able to see the Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I want to say I saw a preview/heard of this movie approximately a year earlier, so to me, it was highly anticipated. I spoke to a few people about the movie before I had the opportunity to watch it and would agree with several of their points. First off, just to be clear, I am a HUGE Brad Pitt fan and think he's one of the great actors of our time, so I'm going to obviously be quite biased.

What did I hear about the movie beforehand? It's been done, it's just like Forrest Gump. True? To a certain extent, I can see how individuals would place a parallel between the two movies. What else did I hear... oh right, its a VERY long movie, but it seems to fly by. True? Absolutely. It's now 3 am and I had no idea that it was this late. Granted, telling a life story of a person is going to be quite time intensive.

Well, I was always fascinated by this short story since I heard of it as a little kid. Shame on me, since I never actually read it, but I think its about time I did. The story of the movie is probably one of the most innovative stories when it comes to just plain creativity. From that stand point, I think the movie has a lot of pull and it kept me interested. I was curious to see how they were going to angle the end of his life, since if you grow younger as you age, does that mean you shrink to a baby's size or do you just turn into a very grown-up sized baby?

I think a parallel that must be placed on the movie is to Titanic. If you think about it, both stories are told by old women who are nearing the end and revealing stories of their lives to their daughter/grand daughter for the very first time. I was a little disappointed that the director wanted to go this route for the movie, since its something that in fact has been done, but at the same time, I don't think it detracted from the script. There were several interesting parts to the movie, and I won't get into them in too much detail since I'm sure all 2 of my readers are always excited to go see the movies I review. (This writing is purposeful right?) I really liked the portion of the movie where Ben explains how several separate events can cause of chain reaction. I know that has been done before, but I thought they did it well in the movie. Secondly, I think the crowd favorite character was the old man who discusses how often he's been struck by lightning (7) since they show a mini clip of what he was doing each time it occurred.

I think that the timeline of the movie was kind of was uneven. Between his first love and finding Daisy, he dropped in age a great deal. Also, it would have been interesting to see more of his vagrant days on his own, near the end of his life.

Overall, I must say the movie kept me captivated throughout the full 3 hours. I enjoyed the portion of the story that revolved around his father. I think its mostly because in the book that I started to write (and abandoned) included father issues that are resolved before he passes. The scene of him carrying his father to the dock that he enjoyed as a young man will bring tears to many. The story is full of drama and humor and although it was not critically acclaimed, this manatee will give it his vote of confidence. I had extremely high expectations going in the film, which sadly were not reached, however, I think many will find this to be a 'good' movie.

3.5 Manatees.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


I really don't care if I only have like 2 readers of this blog, but I will address you two in the same manner as if I had 200. Normally on days that I'm extremely hungover, I lay in bed and watch movies. This is how I'm able to watch as many as I do, I often lay in bed hungover, and not just on weekends. So when I eventually do get fired, I'll be able to post even more! Hurray!

So the second part of my double feature was a movie called Deception that I've been meaning to watch. I think what attracted me to this film was its cast. Definitely star-studded with both Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor, nice part for Dawson Creek's own Michelle Williams. Oh and a short appearance by Natasha Henstridge who is still at her age incredibly attractive. So the premise of the movie is Ewan's character, Jonathan, is a bored, by the book guy. Not too many friends, no one really realizes he exists and he becomes friends with Hugh Jackman, Wyatt, and shows him what living life really is. I think that all of us at times think that we could be doing so much more with our lives and that's going to appeal to everyone. Someone coming in and showing how fun life really can be, breaking yourself out of the molds you built for yourself. I know that personally, I never like to leave my comfort zone but every once and awhile, someone will do it for me and I usually love being out of it. The movie has more of a Talented Mr. Ripley feel to it later (I dont want to give away the movie) but the twist is interesting. The sex club portion of the movie seemed intriguing at first only because the viewer thinks this is the angle the movie is going to head, however, it turns out its just a means to an end. Very cleverly put together and it keeps you guessing at the end of the movie, which for me, is very uncommon. Michelle Williams character was weak, as she didn't really draw the attention that I think the part actually deserved. Maybe it was because both Hugh and Ewan overshadowed her, but I think if you were to have put another person in that role, the movie could have come across more. The premise of the movie is that Ewan is fighting to protect her character 'S' when I never felt any real attachment to her at all.

If I had to choose, I'd say the first feature (Slumdog) was better than the second, but I wouldn't say this movie was bad.

I give it a rating of 3 Manatees

Slumdog Millionaire

So I finally watched Slumdog Millionaire. Jon tried to get several of us out to see this movie a few weeks back, but since I heard nothing of the movie, coupled with Jon encouraging us to see it, I was completely against it. Much to my own chagrin, I must admit that it was an incredible movie. Some of you may be familiar with the director, Danny Boyle, but most of you probably are not. He is probably best known for 'Trainspotting' but I love him most for his work in 'The Beach' a DiCaprio favorite of mine. If you like Slumdog and are sort of into Sci Fi, I highly recommend 'Sunshine' which is another movie of his that came out last year that flew below most people's radars.

Back to the movie, its based on a 'slumdog' uneducated man that is on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Since the Indian Rupee is worth next to nothing, instead of a 1,000,000 rupees, its actually 20,000,000. But that's not the point. You wouldn't think of it at first, but the director but a different spin of a coming of age story. The whole movie is based on flashbacks that the main character, Jamal, has in order to answer the questions that are asked of him on the show. The story is definitely engaging and you are very interested in what is going to happen next. So what are the downfalls of the movie? The 'best friend' character is a stereotypical bad brother. He's there with him through thick and thin, but is willing to hurt his brother in order to benefit himself. Also, it's somewhat predictable. I won't say that the predictability factor is a complete downfall, however, I personally thought it was one of the attractions, as well. I'm not sure if its just me, but when you have a coming of age story, everyone always wants a happy ending, and there were a few situations throughout the movie that you knew would have to go a certain direction.

I consider this a must watch and give it a rating of 5 Manatees.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sex and Breakfast

Last night was our annual Secret Santa dinner with my best friends. We've been doing it for a few years now, and we're all hopeful we'll be able to continue the tradition for years to come. What did we mostly talk about? Sports and the lack of our ability to talk to women. Surprisingly, both Jon and Will jumped in the conversation (in regards to women), although I think that was mostly for Robby and my benefit. At one point at dinner, we started to discuss one of our favorite celebrity blog sites, I think it stemmed from Jon's email earlier in the day sharing his new blog site (the muse of this very blog). One Miss Eliza Dushku is posted on the site as being topless. Once upon a time, I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer and had a thing for "Faith" (fans of the show would know that's her character's name). So anyways, Will then spouted off he saw a movie with her recently titled 'Sex and Breakfast' which she appears nude. Me being a 26 year old single guy couldn't resist and immediately said I'll be netflixing the movie. The movie is an Indie movie and therefore also attracts me for other reasons. I tend to like to watch any movie made, but Indie movies often go underrated. After dinner and MNF, I checked to see if I could add the movie to my queue only to notice that it was available for instant watching. I'd never streamed a video to my laptop from netflix, and it was only 1230, so I figured I'd give it a whirl until I fell asleep.

Low and behold, first person you see in the movie is Alexis Dzenia. I understand that I probably watch more tv and movies than a majority of the world, but she's the girl from Invasion. (A show which I was very disappointed they cancelled after one season on ABC) From the start, how could I possibly go wrong with this movie, Eliza Dushku, Alexis Dzenia and Mr. Home Alone himself, McCauley Culkin, in a movie about sex. (I prefer his brother Rory in another Indie flick, Igby Goes down). Okay let's be honest, this could go very wrong, very quickly. I see a lot of movies, and anyone who knows me well knows that I usually find some redeeming factor in any movie I watch. I often say, "Oh, that movie wasn't bad." There have been a lot of movies lately about 20 somethings and the problems with relationships, but its rare you get the plot of a movie to focus on how their sex life is boring. Anyone who's been in a long term relationship knows that it always starts off quite hot, but then starts to become more routine and you try and add flair anyway you can. So from that aspect, I think a lot of viewers can relate to what the director is trying to portray. I think it is a bit more of a stretch for the couple's first reaction is to rely on group sex, but maybe I'm a bit more old fashioned. The movie wasn't great by any means, but had points which made you reflect on any relationship you might have had and the troubles that people undergo.

My 3 biggest problems with the movie:

- No nude Eliza Dushku.

- McCauley Culkin's sex face is quite frightening. Guys, let's all hope we look nothing like that while we're sleeping with a girl.

- the character Ellis not wanting a threesome.

I'm going to be rating all the movies I watch (or at least some of them) on scale of 1-5 Manatees.

Sex and Breakfast : 1.5 Manatees