Archives for the month of: February, 2014

So, I’m not exactly clear when I got completely off-track on the things that I had to do and failing to do them, but I did. And this not getting things done was really getting in the way of…getting things done.

But I did.
Nothing was getting done and it was bringing me down, what is the reason? I decided to blame the weather, this cold, grey, dark, never ending winter…completely sucked my motivation and got in the way of just living and being productive and all that…

So, I did it. I returned to using “to-do” lists. Again.
Thinking about what I want to to complete and putting in a list and referring back to list and editing it as things get completed is helpful. I can the list getting smaller and smaller and things are getting dealt with in a timely fashion.
Timely!

It feels good to get things done again, and they are things that should be completed, not put off. They are functional and contribute to lower stress of everyday living and breathing. And I like that.
Feels like I’m getting back isn control, despite still being stuck int this winter!

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“The Lego Movie” is directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, story written by Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, screenplay by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.

To misquote the one of two songs in the movie: Everything was awesome!

This was a fun romp of a movie, fast paced, excellent fun banter, fantastical characterizations, surprising cameos and a nicely moral core that wasn’t overblown or overbearing on either the adults or children in the audience.

This is a classic hero story about an ordinary guy who follows the rules who, by accident, finds himself “special” and on a quest to save the entire universe, skillfully told and animated in Lego pieces.

What fun!

Voice talent was great with all the characters suiting their voice and looks and the pacing was excellent – perfectly timed for a younger audience and their smaller bladders. There was quite a bit of chit-chat from the younger audience members (including my niece who was there to see her first movie!) but, they are to be easily and quickly forgiven, with such engaging characters (my niece loved “Uni-Kitty”) (so did I) and such funny jokes, it was only about sharing the jokes and smiles.

This is a great movie. Highly recommend grabbing a couple of friends, old and young and going to see it.

Then you too will be singing “Everything is awesome!”

 

“The Monuments Men” is directed by George Clooney, screenplay by George Clooney and Grant Heslov based on a book by Robert E. Edsel and Brett Witter.

This movie is based on true events about a platoon that was tasked with finding stolen art and returning it to owners during WWII.

One of the things that I really enjoy about movies that George Clooney writes and directs is the distinct retro-feel they have – this movie is another example of how Clooney is a bit of a throw-back to the aesthetics of 1940s movies and ignores current styles and trends in movies. I like it, it makes me feel like I’m watching a movie where any minute Carey Grant could walk on-screen.

This movie is a fine example of solid story telling with very little specially effects or distracting fluff. The characters are spare and not fully flushed out and much is left to our imaginations to fill in blanks and we are also largely left to find the emotional core of the characters and of the film. I like these kinds of films – they start from the assumption that the audience needs to do some work too, we have to view actively because we aren’t spoon-fed everything we should be thinking and feeling. We aren’t shown everything. It assumes that we walk into the experience as thinking and feeling beings.

Another thing that I like too, is the emotive core of the characters is very much understated – characters don’t scream and yell, they overcome adversity and face death with style and reserve.

To be fair, I was completely biased to like this film – I do believe that art is an important expression and experience of humans, I do follow stories of art stolen during WWII and the discovery and recovery of that art, and most of all, I love the aesthetic that Clooney aspires to.

Funny observation – during the screening of this film I was the youngest member of the audience.

Very satisfying film. Nicely done.

 

 

 

I originally reviewed “Scott Pilgrim vs the World” when it was originally released, back in 2010, you can read the original review here. I note that I spelled “Pilgrim” incorrectly in the title of that review sooo…oops?

“Scott Pilgrim vs the World” is directed by Edgar Wright, written by Michael Bacall (screenplay), Edgar Wright (screenplay) based on the graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley.

First, I should explain what happened and how this re-watch happened. I was downtown at TIFF Bell Lightbox, to see another movie and I stumbled into a film fest for teens. The theme this years was something like “rebels” or “outsiders” or something and they had some pretty interesting offerings Just because I haven’t been a teen in a long time, doesn’t mean that I don’t like films about rebels or outsiders or just good films in general. So, I made a quick decision and went to a double feature, 2 movies 15 minutes apart. Lucky for me, the theaters were right next to each other, so no need to any running on my part, if I left before the credits were over in the first film, it wouldn’t be a problem.

The theatre was packed with “teens”, I think I was probably one of the few people who weren’t there for the film fest and probably one of the oldest, if not the oldest, in the theatre. I had a very nice pre-movie chat with a guy who asked me “If you aren’t a student then what are you?”. My answer, “‘I’m adult.” Then I laughed like crazy.

So, how does the film measure up to the passage of time?

Really well, actually The dialogue although now a bit dated feeling, is still snappy, witty and clever. The characters are by turns deep, shallow, sensitive and callous. The technology and effects are still fun, the fight scenes are still exciting. Most of all the plot is simple and sweet and it remains an endearing film and excellent way to spend some time in the theatre.

It was also a lot of fun to see this film in a packed theatre with everyone laughing with me – I saw this film twice in the theatre when it was released and I was one of only a few in a theatre and the only one who laughed at all.

It is really nice to see that this film has held up to a few years passing.

I really enjoyed the re-watch.

And yeah, if you haven’t seen this film, check it out.

 

 

“Inside Llewyn Davis” is directed by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, written by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen.

Ok, you’ve read what all the critics have said, that is one of the Coen brother’s best, that they are in fine form and that this movie is wonderful and moving and the performances are award-worthy.

Like “American Hustle” (previously reviewed and disliked), this film is all hype and not a lot of substance.

The synopsis of the film is that it follows one week in the life of a struggling folk singing in 1961 Greenwich Village. Which is true. What the synopsis fails to add, though, is that the struggling folk singer is an incredibly dislikeable human being. He doesn’t inspire, he doesn’t amuse or delight, he barely impresses – on the contrary, I found myself hoping that he would just give up and throw himself in front of a subway or he would get mugged and left to die in an ally. Umm, spoiler neither of those things happen.

Regretfully, the supporting cast is equally, if not more dislikeable. Carey Mulligan, who usually I love, screeches her way through her scenes, Justin Timberlake is a barely a presence and John Goodman’s appearance serves neither the story nor a point – I’m not sure why they even bothered putting his name on the poster.

The characters don’t seem to have real connections or real feelings for each other and seem to be constantly arguing or falling apart. On top of all that, nothing much happenings.

My favourite character was the cat – interesting and adorable and seemed to the be only actor in this film who demonstrated any real emotion and evoked empathy from the audience. I note the cat is uncredited…

All that being said, there is one scene that made seeing this film worthwhile – a recording session with 3 of the actors of a novelty song, which was a completely satisfying 3 minutes in a way that only watching and listening people make music can be, but it didn’t make up for the rest of the film.

Give this one a pass.