Secondhand Embarrassment

Once in a while a scene is overwhelmingly embarrassing that you have to shield your eyes.  With a strong first installment, Spider-man had the title of highest grossing opening weekend.  By its second sequel, Spider-man turned into an emo man freak courtesy of venom.  While the choice was made for the developmental arc of Peter Parker, the emo turn had Tobey Mcguire acting a fool and the audience feeling embarrassment for him.  Enjoy the cringe-worthy secondhand embarrassment.

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Crazy, Stupid, Love

It is not an unlikely story in Hollywood.  Ailing relationship suffers from a lack of excitement results in an affair.  Crazy, Stupid, Love deviates from this path when Cal Weaver (Steve Carrell) finds himself humiliated and lonely at a singles bar.  Cal’s complete opposite, an outgoing ladies man named Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), takes pity and pulls Cal under his wing.  Jacob refines Cal and guides him in his relationships with his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore) and his one night stand, Kate (Marisa Tomei).  Along the way Cal struggles with his lovestruck son while Jacob falls in love for the first time.

The off brand type of comedy found in Crazy, Stupid, Love has extended moments of burst out loud laughing but was laced with very bizarre and cringe worthy awkwardness.  One scene comes to mind when Cal is wooing a women.  Using his personal type of humor found in The Office and 40 Year Old Virgin, Cal makes less than romantic passes at Kate.  When they finally get home to his apartment their dynamic shifts from strange couple to kinky weirdness. Continue reading

Meryl’s Voice

I wanted to add a new category to a specific type of clip I find quite often, the montage.  The montage holds a special place in my heart because its spitfire string of clips engages even the most distracted.

Award season showcases the most montages often used to present an overarching directory of the movies of the year.  Sadder uses of the montage are to mark the passing of those late actors who lost their lives.  In films you often find them to mark the passing of time or to show multiple events quickly.  Also, in every action movies their is the training montage. Regardless, the montage shows a spectrum of clips from varies movies to rooting applause.

To begin this category I am going back to one of my favorite actresses.  Meryl Streep, or Queen Meryl, has a way of transforming herself for every role.  Having earned 16 Oscar nominations she is one of the better actress of all time.  One reason she deserves this title is her dedication for the roles she plays.  Her depiction of these characters are so precise that their accents are on par.  The following montage is from Slate and highlights some of Meryl’s better accents.

Page One: Inside The New York Times

Breaking news in the media landscape over the course of a year was captured on film for the documentary Page One: Inside The New York Times.  With unprecedented access to the newsroom at The New York Times newsroom, the audience is given a rare experience into the day-to-day workings of the paper of record.  With every major scandal of the past few years touched upon, Page One is both a historic narrative of scandal in print as well as a report on the new media landscape threatening the newspaper industry.  Following reporters, the stories and new news outlets, Page One is a captured moment in the transition of media.

From WikiLeaks, Gawker and the iPad, Page One’s dominant question is whether or not The New York Times can go out of business.  Touching on the bankruptcy of the Tribune Company and countless conferences stressing the topic, the movie takes a dark turn focusing on the decline of advertising and the closure of countless newspapers across the country in the wake of the current recession. But instead of following the decline Page One leaves a hopeful message of how the ‘Grey Lady’ will survive. Continue reading

Captain America, The First Avenger

The summer of the superhero is still in full swing and this week we Captain America takes the lead in Captain America, The First Avenger.  Instead of skyscrapers and technology, Captain America fights evil during World War II.  As a product of science, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) becomes the first of an army of ‘super-soldier’ designed by the United States Army to fight the Nazis.  When the scientist instrumental in transforming Rogers into Captain America is murdered by an agent of the mysterious Hydra, Captain America turns the war into a personal battle. He finds help along the way in a loyal band of misfit soldiers. Captain America takes on Red Skull, the leader of Hydra, in a battle not just for America but to save the world.

Inherent in superhero movies is character recognition.  While the name may be recognizable the story may not.  Captain America starts off on the wrong foot because it fails to provide enough backstory in order to understand his world.  Steve Rogers receives a unexplained serum that bulks him up while his archenemy is searching for a glowy magical cube with untold powers.  Neither are explained to the point where you can buy into their effectiveness. Continue reading

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Time is counting down and the battle of Hogwarts looms.  Harry Potter and his friends face the impossible challenge of finding all the horcruxes before Voldemort threatens their school as well as the wizardry world.  The final film in Harry’s eight part adventure brings them from the cavernous Gringotts bank to the tall towers of Hogwarts.  With spells and giants on the horizon, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermonie Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) make a heroic stand against Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his dark army.  Who will succeed while the other fails and who will live to tell the tale?

In the conclusion of the legendary Harry Potter franchise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 stands out as a remarkable film but a poor adaptation of the book.  While the addition of time strains the reality of the books, as loyalists, as i assume most are, will find certain haphazard changes quite discomforting.  Continue reading

Streep v. Close 2012

Screw Obama and who ever will run against him it seems like the biggest race of the year will be for Best Lead Actress at next years Academy Awards. The presumptive candidates are already thinning and it seems like Queen Meryl and former rival Glen Close will have another bout for the little golden man. While I love a good cat fight especially around award season, may we refrain from such nonsensical jibber-jabber until – I don’t know – the movies comes out. For goodness sake, barely a publicity still is released and were jumping down the rabbit hole. Let’s give it to the end of the credits to make a judgement.

Meryl Streep is taking on the infamous English Prime Minster, Margaret Thatcher, in The Iron Lady while Glen Close plays the title character in Albert Nobbs.  In this role she plays a cross dressing butler in 19th century Ireland.  It seems like this fight will be head over the Irish Sea.