Aug 23, 2013

Behind the Candelabra (2013) / My Life with Liberace

"Too much of a good thing is wonderful."

The 1970's was a better time, wasn't it; you could dress up in glitter, frill, fur and eyeliner from head to toe, but people wouldn't automatically assume that you're gay. I guess the stereotype came to be much later. The clothing was one of the best things about the movie. Some of that stuff was just outrageous, and I mean that in a good way.

Before today I didn't know anything about Liberace. All I knew was that they like to make a lot of Liberace jokes on Glee, so I assumed it had to do with something, um, eccentric. I hadn't heard about the movie either, which is kind of cool, because it hints that A-listers in gay roles is not such a big deal anymore. So I read a couple of reviews, and then decided it could be worth seeing. And it really was worth seeing, because it's nominated for like a million Emmys, and I never really had an opinion about Michael Douglas before, but now I do, and the opinion is that he's so good.

The acting is no doubt what makes the film stand out. Douglas especially, but Matt Damon, too. He portrayed a character much younger than himself, and you need more than a tremendously convincing make-up to pull that off. The make-up was kick-ass, of course, but still. They were both so shameless, and they owned the characters, even when they did the boldest scenes, put on the most embarrassing costumes and let themselves look the most unflattering. There was not even a trace of the well-known Hollywood superstars, so there's no reason to feel awkward. Bravo! And Rob Lowe with that highly attractive facelift... Scene-stealer. 

(I can't get over Cheyenne Jackson, aka the most hilarious guest star on Glee ever, being a part of the film. I just didn't expect to ever see Dustin Goolsby in a glitter tuxedo. "I'm handsome, I'm good-looking and I'm easy on the eyes. Also I'm gorgeous." Hahahahhaah... Classic pick-up line. And Daddy Hummel aka the brilliant Mike O'Malley had a small role, too! Glee invasion! By the way, keep the jokes coming, because from now on I will get them.)

I'm tired so that's all I'll say. I hope many people will see the film, and I hope Douglas and Damon will get all kinds of awards. This was a very refreshing movie, I hadn't seen anything like it in a while. A bit sweet and a bit sad and a bit funny and more than a bit outrageously and wonderfully eccentric. I'm glad this made it to cinemas in Europe, even though in the US it was only released on TV. 'Cause it's too gay. Right? Welcome to the year 2013...

P.S. I know this has to do with absolutely nothing, expect for Matt Damon's BFF, but I feel so sorry for poor Ben Affleck, because people think he'll be a terrible Batman. C'mon, just because the guy has never acted well in anything, doesn't mean he can't pull off Batman! I mean, I could pull off Batman. Just growl and speak in a ridiculously low voice and frown a lot. I bet Benny will be the best Batman ever! Not that I will see the movie, because I think Batman is stupid and Superman is lame.

Aug 22, 2013

Kick-Ass 2 (2013) / Avengers assemble, asshole

"Act like a bitch, get slapped like a bitch."

Once upon a time my ass was figuratively kicked by Kick-Ass. In other words, I really got a great kick out of the movie. And it really was damn awesome, wasn't it? I remember sometimes calling it my favorite superhero movie, next to The Avengers. 'Cause it's just great fun. The sequel continues to entertain, it makes me laugh out loud, and also cringe, because some of the stuff they pull is pretty yucky. Lawn movers and all. I don't thoroughly enjoy all the violence and the obnoxious deaths, but let's face it, Kick-Ass wouldn't be Kick-Ass if someone didn't get decapitated or their guts spilled out in a hilarious way every once in a while.

Some spoilers.

I was hoping that in a new plot twist Dave Lizewski would have decided to grow a mustache. Sadly, that didn't happen, but luckily there's always Anna Karenina. Aaron T-J has been my wet dream for quite a while, with or without mustache, and I enjoyed him again, especially during those last frames. I will be rewinding those seconds and watching them again and again once I get my hands on a DVD. When I'm forty I will totally marry a 20-year-old Aaron Johnson. It is my ultimate goal in life.

But not even the flawless abs or the awesome scale of supporting characters (from the terrifying Mother Russia and Jim Carey's Colonel to the sweet Team Remembering Peter and Christopher Mintz-Plasse who delivers every time) can outshine the true star of the film: Hit Girl/Mindy Macready/Chloë Grace Moretz. Hit-Girl and Katniss Everdeen should unite to be the most ass-kicking teenage girl duo ever. They'd shoot squirrels and hit President Snow square in the face, with some awesome background music. Anyway. Fangirl brain, stop. Hit-Girl was a big part of the charm of the first movie, but now she has a more significant role, and she gets more meatier stuff, and I loved it. If Kick-Ass was a Kick-Ass movie, Kick-Ass 2 was a Hit-Girl movie. High school is tough, growing up is a bitch, and fitting in is pain, even if you are only the most bad-ass girl in the universe. But even Hit-Girl isn't completely immune to boy bands.

Kick-Ass 2 might be an action comedy sequel before anything else, but it ended up delivering a very sincere message, even if it was delivered via disgusting images of spilled guts and severed penises. You can choose what to do with your life; you can choose to be a super villain, or you can choose to do good with what you have. With no power, comes no responsibility, expect that isn't true. I stole that from the first movie, but it's a cool thought. It's what the whole franchise is about: choosing to fight for good, even though you're probably going to get your ass kicked, because you have no superpowers whatsoever. "You don't have to be bad-ass to be a superhero, you just have to be brave."

By the way, Bechdel test passed! Not bad for a superhero movie. The two most bad-ass characters were female, and I seriously doubt there's ever been a more terrifying villain in anything ever than Mother Russia. And Hit-Girl, she's a total cowboy. In the end, she kisses the good-looking guy, and drives off to the sunset in a motorcycle. I want to be Hit-Girl when I grow up. And I can't wait for Chloë Grace Moretz to grow up and do more amazing movies and blow everyone's minds away. But, you know, not with weapons, but with her talent. I also can't wait for Kick-Ass 3. Not to mention The Avengers sequel. Aaron T-J is going to be in it, as if there weren't enough heartbreakingly beautiful men involved in that franchise already. I'm not sure if my ovaries will be able to handle it, but I will be so pleased to give it a try.

Aug 6, 2013

Before Midnight (2013) / bitch-slapped by reality

"If you want true love, then this is it."

I didn't love Before Midnight the way I have, for years, loved Sunrise and Sunset. It's a spectacular film, of course. The script and the acting are as top-notch as ever. When it wasn't depressing, It was funny. The characters are still spectacular. So, a great movie. BUT. I know what my problems with it are.

Beware of tiny spoilers.

Sunrise was romantic. Sunset was nostalgic. Now, Midnight was realistic. Not that the other two were not; I keep going on about how REAL the story and the characters and the dialogue have always been. Yet, not many people meet each other in a train ans then spend the most significant night of their lives in Vienna. Not many people lose touch to that potential love of their lives for nine years, until meeting them again in Paris. But majority of people, at some point of their lives, are 41 and struggling to maintain their marriages. Which sucks. Why do the romantic and the nostalgic have to give way to the realistic?

It had to happen, of course. Midnight could not have been another cheerful film about discovering or rediscovering. I don't know what I expected. Less shouting and fighting, I guess? All that shouting and fighting made me depressed. I wasn't ready for that. I had just watched Sunrise and Sunset for the millionth time, and I loved the characters and I loved their relationship. Now, here they were, sick of themselves and their lives and their relationship, shouting and fighting. Whyyyyyyyyyy. It's so wrong. I mean, if a perfect couple like Jesse and Celine can't make it, how could I ever expect to make it? Right? I found myself dreading the time I'm 41. These films have always represented realistic, but ideal life for me. Now I felt bitch-slapped. And naive. I consider myself a reasonably realistic person, aware of the excessively romanticized reality that media is shoving down our throats. And yet, Before Midnight managed to pull the rug from under my apparently wide-eyed, brainwashed, romcom-consuming bubble. Reality sucks! Bring back my unrealistically happy endings!

The main reason why I know I didn't embrace the third film as much as the previous two is that I'm 24 and single. In Sunset the characters are 32, but I am still able to identify with them and their thoughts (I'd name the second film my favorite of the three). Apparently 41 is too far. I've never had any experiences even close to the ones the characters went through in the script. It felt strange and intimidating, like a sneak peak to the scary adult world waiting for me behind a decade or two. Then again, I'm sure that for someone who has been married or in a relationship with kids for several years, the film does not seem intimidating at all. They can understand what's going on much better, perhaps take it less seriously, and most importantly, identify with it all. What you don't know will scare you.

So, this is obviously a lost battle. What I need to do is accept the fact that I didn't love Before Midnight as much and as sincerely as I wanted to, hide my Sunrise and Sunset dvd's for a couple of years, sit back, grow up, get married, have kids, have marriage crises, and then watch Midnight again. Then I'll love it. And by that time Before Noon or Before Lunchtime or Before Twilight or Before Whatever will be playing in cinemas, I hope, and I'll go see it and get myself an early midlife crisis, because who knew turning fifty could be that horrifying.

Jul 22, 2013

Orange is the New Black is my new bitch

I needed an excuse to order Netflix again, and ta-dah, there was Orange Is the New Black. They were talking about it on the radio, and 'female prison' was pretty much all I needed to hear to know I'd love this show. I watched all thirteen episodes within days and I can't wait to get more next year. Sorry for the attempted prison slang in the title, by the way, I tried my best.

Piper Chapman is leading a cozy life in New York, with her adorable soon-to-be-husband, Larry, whom everyone will associate with American Pie, but that's okay with me, because I think I've never seen a full movie in that franchise. A relationship she had with a drug dealer a decade back sends her to prison. This educated, privileged woman being in prison is weird, creepy, and kind of funny. This show is no Prison Break, where the emphasis was on the action and building up the next cliffhanger. (They're not trying to break out, which means these gals have definitely seen the later seasons of Prison Break, and they know that no good comes out of leaving that fascinating, claustrophobic milieu behind. Not that I'm bitter. But I am. Still.)

Orange concentrates on the characters, their backstories (with very Lost-esque flashbacks that I very much enjoyed) and the dynamics. The tone is relatively light, and there are a lot of comedic elements, despite the grim premise of the show. So there's loads of relationship drama, but not the lame kind. And it's not all lesbian jealousy and verbal, interracial catfights. At times, it does get almost Prison Break suspenseful, and pretty damn dark. And ah, the characters.

Typically for me, I'm not overly fond of the main character trio (except for Larry, perhaps, because he's such a darling), but I adore the variety of supporting characters. There haven't been this many fantastic female characters in the same show since EVER! From intimidating Russian ladies and meth-head Jesus freaks to hot lesbian junkies and transgendered hairdressers, this show has it all, and they all come with enormous amounts of character and attitude, and of course loads of F-bombs. It's pretty fantastic. The men of the show are mostly just evil, or stupid, or both. (Except for Larry, darling Larry. And you know I can't resist a prison guard/inmate romance. Mmmh, forbidden love, bring it!) Perhaps the show does not really do justice to the male gender, but I figure they can take it, for once in their lives. This is the women's time to shine, and show their diversity, and break 96% of all the dumb female stereotypes we've gotten used to.

Hurray for female prisons! I can't wait for next year. Then I get to do more time. As they say in prison. I think. Here's a trailer.

May 30, 2013

Spring Breakers (2012) / a chance to see something different

"I'm tired of seeing the same thing. This is our chance to see something different."

I'd been to movies fifteen times this year. After seeing The Great Gatsby last week I counted my 2013 cinema visits so far. So, fifteen. Then I counted the times that had actually managed to blow my mind a little, or shake my core, or whatever. One. That was the first movie I saw in cinema this year, The Impossible, and the core-shaking related to that experience had to do with the unnatural amount of crying, obviously. But one core-shaker in fifteen movies; I don't really like those numbers. Sure, there had been some minor shakes. Sure, I wasn't always looking for an experience that would blow up my brain. Sure, sometimes I just wanted to be entertained.

But come on. One in fifteen. I was getting really tired of seeing okay movies. Fine movies. Pretty good movies. Movies that weren't bad but they just lacked that something. I saw the Spring Breakers trailer some time ago and was a bit confused by Disney stars in bikinis and all that booty-shaking and James Franco looking extremely shady. Then I saw some reviews. So I thought I'd go see it. Might as well make it one in sixteen, right? Well, turns out Spring Breakers was just the core-shaker that I was longing for. I honestly can't tell you how happy I felt half-way through the film, as I felt my mind sneakily blowing somewhere in the back of my head. I wasn't sure what I was seeing. I had never seen anything quite like it before. It was something different, and I liked it.

Spring Breakers features four college girls, stuck in a small town with the same old faces, same old lecture halls, and the same old lectures about racial segregation, which I thought sounded so interesting I would've loved to keep listening. Hah. Nerd, I know... Everyone is heading down to Florida for spring break, for some epic partying, drinking and promiscuous activity, but the girls are out of money. They decide they need to go to Florida, whatever it takes. They need to get out and experience something different.

At some point during the film something quite random and very nerdy popped into my head. The girls' behavior reminded me very much of the Salem witch trials. Being somewhat of a semi-expert (ahem) on what went on in 1692 in the small Salem Village in New England, I thought about the girls in Salem who were bored and frustrated by the lack of meaningful activities and the few opportunities the Puritan society had to offer for them, and thus in accusing people of witchcraft they found a way to acquire power, get attention and feel worth-while. Not that different from the bored college girls who went to look for their end of the rainbow from the mixed madness of booze, drugs, sex, money and guns. Isn't that what power is? What the ultimate meaning of everything is?

The silent but powerful critique towards modern society is what made the film blow my mind away, way away. I don't really know how to talk about it. The girls set off to look for meaning, thinking they know where to find it, but returning empty-handed. Empty-headed. Empty. Their lives just as empty as before, if not emptier. The world is thoroughly messing us up, and we know it, but this won't stop it. In Spring Breakers, the endless and repetitive shots of naked or half-naked bodies, in close-up and slow-motion, should disturb you or at least affect you in some way. But you see the booties shaking right in front of your face, again and again, and you see the people screaming in the ecstasy of being wasted, young and good-looking, and you just see how embarrassing and almost grotesque the whole thing is. We see so much booty-shaking it becomes absolutely ridiculous. Isn't that the meaning of life, as it's constantly pushed down our throats? Bikinis and big booties, y'all, that's what life is about.

Many people have said the genre of the film is very difficult to determine, and I agree. But I don't ever agree when they call it a comedy. For me, it wasn't a comedy at all. I also watched a few interviews with the cast and my mind blew once again, this time because of the idiotic way the interviewers approached the film and thus the actors. I guess the beauty of the film is that there are a million different ways to see it and understand it. But I'd call the movie a tragedy rather than a comedy... A satire, yes, but not in a funny way. A cheery, sexy movie about how awesome spring breaks are? Not. At. All. That's what you'd expect, but not. At. All.

A few technical details that, in addition to the social commentary, reinforced the process of my mind being blown: James Franco and how he'd somehow managed to transform himself into insane, disgusting, yet somehow appealing maniac, who lives and breaths his twisted idea of the American dream ("Look at my shit!"). The visual look of the film combined to the hectic style of editing, making me feel almost hypnotized. Then the Everytime scene, and thinking about all the things that Britney Spears represents... It seemed both fitting and twisted in this context. There's something else too, but it's been a few days since the core-shaking now that I'm finishing up this post, and I've forgotten the feeling I had right after.

After the film I saw a commercial on TV, attempting to make men buy suits by portraying a woman seductively lifting the hem of her tiny skirt. I saw Selena Gomez parading around in a music video where every moment, every shot, every body movement and look was over-sexualized, and I thought, "Oh, girl, didn't you learn anything from your movie?". Surely everyone realizes how ridiculous they look? Everything seemed absurd, like everything was a parody of itself. I guess that's what happens when something blows your mind.

Apr 11, 2013

JK Rowling: Paikka vapaana

Kesti kauan ennen kuin sain avattua JK Rowlingin uuden kirjan. Melkein seitsemän kuukautta. Sain suomennoksen joululahjaksi, mutta lykkäsin lukemisen aloittamista pohtimalla, että voinkohan minä nyt oikeasti lukea tämän kirjan suomeksi. Minulle tuli joku typerä ajatus, että jos luen kirjan suomeksi, en ole oikeasti lukenut sitä, en niin kuin Rowling sen tarkoitti luettavaksi. Kuinka voisin vertailla kirjoitustyyliä ja sanavalintoja kirjailijan aikaisempiin teoksiin kun lukisin oikeastaan vain suomentajan tekstiä? Nuo aikaisemmat teoksethan ovat syy siihen, miksi minäkin haluan lukea The Casual Vacancyn. Samalla aikaisempi tuotanto on myös se asia, joka teki lukemisen aloittamisesta hieman nihkeää. Miten tämän kirjan voisi ikinä lukea olematta vähintään hippusen pettynyt? Miten se voisi ikinä vastata odotuksiin? Miten sitä voisi olla vertaamatta siihen maagiseen seitsemän kirjan sarjaan, jonka voittanutta maailmasta tuskin ikinä tulee löytämään?

Lopulta järjistyin sen verran, että karistin epäilykseni sekä kirjaa että suomen kieltä kohtaan ja avasin hyllyssä säälittävän kauan odotelleen painokseni. Yhteys Harry Potteriin oli hyvä sysätä mielestä, ja näiden kahden totaalisen erilaisen maailman oli helppo unohtaa olevan peräisin samasta mielikuvituksesta. Suomeksi lukemiseen tottui tietenkin nopeasti, ja vain ajoittain, esimerkiksi slangia ja kiroilua ja muuta kulttuurisidonnaista dialogia lukiessani, toivoin rinnalle alkuperäiskäännöstä. Jossain vaiheessa toki minun on pakko lukea myös Rowlingin ihkaoma teksti, mutta Ilkka Rekiaron suomennos on oikein hyvä. Eikä tarina miksikään muutu vaikka kieli muuttuukin. Tässäpä siis ajatuksiani JK Rowlingin Paikka vapaana -kirjasta, ihan omalla kotimaisellani tällä kertaa. Tuntuu vähän oudolta, mutta niin tuntui sekin kun aloitin kirjoittamaan tätä postausta englanniksi. Luin kirjan suomeksi, joten ajatuksetkin muodostuivat suomeksi. Anteeksi pilkkuvirheistä ja typeristä lauserakenteista. Useamman kerran olen joutunut käyttämään sanakirjaa: 'Mikäs se narrow-minded onkaan suomeksi...?'. Ehkä tämä on kovinkin tarpeellista harjoitusta kanditutkielman kypsyysnäytettä varten...


Englantilaisesta Pagfordin pikkukaupungista löytyy pelkästään surkeita ihmiskohtaloita. Ihmiset ovat pikkumaisia, masentuneita, harhaluuloisia, katkeria, itsekkäitä, kyynisiä, pinnallisia, säälittäviä, vahingoniloisia, välinpitämättömiä, teeskenteleviä tai yksinkertaisesti inhottavia. Rowling kuvaa laajan hahmokavalkadinsa ajatuksia brutaalin rehellisesti, kaunistelematta, niitä kaikkein kuvottavimpiakaan yksityiskohtia salaamatta. Padfordissa ei ole hyviä, jaloja, tai vilpittömän onnellisia ihmisiä. Hahmoihin tutustuessa haluat kiintyä herttaisen oloiseen rouvaan tai harmittomaan aviomieheen, mutta oletukset herttaisuudesta ja harmittomuudesta murskataan muutaman lauseen kuluttua. Vanhukset ovat ahdasmielisiä ja itsekeskeisiä, aviomiehet ovat kamalia vaimoilleen, jotka vastineeksi ovat kamalia aviomiehilleen, ja teinit ovat ahdistuneita, ilkeitä ja epäsympaattisia. Mitä näistä hahmoista pitäisi ajatella? Onko minun tarkoitus kiintyä näihin säälittäviin ihmisiin? Miten muka pystyn välittämään heidän kohtaloistaan?

Rowling kertoo miten. Tai ei kerro, mutta antaa vain yhden vaihtoehdon: Jatka lukemista. Olin päässyt kirjassa melkein puoleen väliin kun ajattelin, 'ei tässä oikeastaan mitään ole tapahtunut, mutta hyvä kirja tämä silti on'. Kirja tempaisee mukaansa, joskaan ei samalla, riemastuttavalla tavalla kuin vaikka Potterit. Lukemista on kuitenkin pakko jatkaa, ja viimeiset luvut tuleekin ahmittua melkein kuin Deathly Hallowsin loppu konsanaan: kirjan alas laskeminen ei ollut vaihtoehto. Hahmot tulevat pikku hiljaa tutuiksi (niiden listaaminen paperille oli hyvä idea: keskeisiä hahmoja on nimittäin enemmän kuin sormillaan pystyy laskemaan), ja kyllä vain, niistä oppii välittämään, kuin vaivihkaa. Ilkeydelle löytyy syy, ja se alkaa jopa vaikuttaa sankarilliselta. Pikkumaisuuden voi antaa anteeksi kun saa kurkata hahmon menneisyyteen. Ymmärrät miksi vaimo on niin välinpitämätön miestänsä kohtaan. Saat katsoa tuskallisen läheltä mitä huumekierre saa aikaan koko perheessä. Myötätunto ja kiintymys nostavat päätään, ja lopuksi tunnet ripauksen sympatiaa jopa sitä kaikista vastemielisintä hahmoakin kohtaan. Uskomatonta, mutta totta.

Kirjan hahmovalikoiman laajuudesta sen verran, että se oli minusta ihan mahtavaa. Kaikkien hahmojen tarinat nivoutuvat yhteen tavalla tai toisella, ja oli vaan todella kiehtovaa lukea samoista tapahtumista ja ihmisistä useammasta näkökulmasta. Jotkut hahmot tietysti kiehtovat enemmän kuin toiset. Teinien edesottamuksista luin kiinnostuneempana kuin paikallispolitiikaa päivittelevien keski-ikäisten, mutta se varmaan johtuu vain siitä, että itse olen tähän mennessä kokenut teini-iän, mutten keski-ikää. Ne harvat sympatiaani koko ajan nauttineet hahmot olivat nimenomaan nuorta polvea. Heidän moraalittomat tekonsa ja karut ajatuksensa antaa helpommin anteeksi kuin aikuisten, koska syyn kaikkeen löytää lähempää, vanhemmista ja ympäristöstä, ja inhottavuuden keskeltä huomaa silti vielä pilaantumatonta lapsen viattomuutta ja toiveikkuutta.

Tapahtumat saavat siis alkunsa Barry Fairbrother -nimisen miehen äkillisestä ja koruttomasta kuolemasta, jonka myötä paikallisvaltuustoon vapautuu kallisarvoinen ja haviteltu paikka. Kunnallisvaalien ympärille rakentuvan tarinan ei odottaisi olevan niin mukaansatempaava, kiehtova ja syväluotaava kuin Paikka vapaana lopulta on. Ihmiskohtalot kietoutuvat yhteen, syyt ja seuraukset johtavat uusiin, ja pienet asiat sysäävät liikkeelle suuria, elämää mullistavia tapahtumia. Kaikki tarinat saavat omanlaisensa päätöksen; ei ehkä onnellisen, mutta lukijan tyydyttävän. Elämä jatkuu, ja voit vain toivoa, että Pagfordin asukkaat ovat Barry Fairbrotherin kuoleman käynnistämien tapahtumien seurauksena ottaneet edes hieman opikseen karun elämän opetuksista.

Paikka vapaana oli minusta todella masentava. Haluan aina uskoa ihmisistä hyvää, ja tämä kirja teki siitä todella vaikeaa. Koska eivät pelkästään Pagfordin asukkaat ole kamalia, vaan kaikki ihmiset. Hahmojen ajatusten kuvaukset ovat piinallisen realistisia, ja niistä tunnistaa ihmisluonnon perusominaisuuksia. Katsot ympärillesi ja näet, että maailma on oikeasti ihan yhtä typerä kuin fiktiivinen Pagford. Ahdistavinta on kuitenkin nähdä palanen itseään siellä täällä tuossa kamaluuksien ja yksityisten, häpeällisten ajatusten vyyhdissä. Halusin tehdä eron itseni ja lähiympäristöni, ja kirjan säälimättömän ihmiskuvauksen välillä, mutta pakkohan se oli myöntää, että kaikissa meissä on pikkumaisuutta, ilkeyttä, itsekkyyttä ja inhottavuutta. Jollain lailla tämän myöntäminen tuntuu myös vapauttavalta.

Kirjan luettuani en kuitenkaan tuntenut oloani yhtään niin masentuneeksi kuin odottaa saattoi. Jouduin räpyttelemään kyyneleitä ja sydäntä väänsi se, kuinka kamala paikka maailma on, mutta masentuneisuutta en tuntenut. En kyllä oikeastaan tiedä mitä tunsin, mutta jotain aika suurta se oli. Sitten tietysti tunsin velvollisuutta rakentaa jonkinlainen alttari Joanne Rowlingille. Jestas, mikä tarinankertoja.

Apr 8, 2013

Warm Bodies (2013) / love cures all

"Don't be creepy. Don't be creepy. Don't be creepy."

Zombie is the new vampire. In the race for the title of the hottest undead, Alexander Skarsgård just got some competition. I wonder which freak of nature pop culture will choose to be the next wet dream for female masses around the world. The could do Frankenstein monsters. Or maybe mummies should make a comeback, but this time, you know, hot. Just think how the bloody bandages would unravel to reveal the toned body of some Hollywood hunk. Mm hm. I'm feeling it. The mummy returns again. Perhaps wearing a cute, red hoodie.

Let me just say, first, that I really support the idea of banning everyone under-aged from cinemas. I know I was an annoying giggling teenager once, too, but I was never that bad. I totally would've shut up if some scary-looking older female person had turned around and stared at me, pissed off. But no! I want to say, 'Kids these days!', but I don't want to sound that old. Anyway, I really wanted to turn into a zombie and eat the brains of those loud, annoying, inconsiderate, bad-behaving teenage boys. Then I would've learned what the heck is wrong with them, not being able to just SHUT UP. Probably I would've found out something shocking, like, 'I'm a teenage boy, loud and inconsiderate is what I do'. Well. I hope my angry glances taught them a lesson. My glances can be very educative, you know.

Back to the point. I was always eager to see Warm Bodies, ever since I saw the trailer (which, by the way, reveals too much; Trailers these days! Ugh!). I know my taste in movies quite well, so I know I wouldn't be able resist a romantic horror comedy. With a contributor like Nicholas Hoult involved. And zombies. Zombies are fun. There is a lot of comedy in the way they just say "uuuuuuurgh" and stare. I really want to see the outtakes of the scene where R and his friend have that 'conversation'. And the voice-over made me want to read the book.

Nicholas Hoult does have a special place in my heart, and the girly, giggly fangirl in me finds him very enjoyable to look at. This is a strange thing to admit, but I found him much more good-looking as a half-zombie-half-human than full-human. Full-human was too pretty, too Tony from Skins. Speaking of too pretty, I kept thinking how wrong the people who compare this movie to Twilight are. If this was like Twilight, the girl would've been like, "Ooooh, I want to be dead like you! Bite me! BITE ME!". I actually liked the girl character, and Analeigh from America's Next Top Model was a lot of fun. I remember watching her in the show, and rooting for her, and I remember Tyra saying that she should pursue acting.

Warm Bodies was a very sweet, entertaining movie, just what I wanted and expected. The plot was very simple and straight-forward, and it didn't try to be more epic or ground-shattering than it was. I found it a surprisingly sincere and down-to-earth kind of movie. Just enough romance, just enough horror, just enough comedy. Although undeniably predictable, it didn't feel cliched or cheesy. It made me feel good. It's a movie you would hug if you could. Love cures all - even a zombie apocalypse.

Apr 2, 2013

Before Before Midnight

I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to this! The sucky thing is I don't know when my coordinates will match those where the film is playing. I know it's opening in the US on May 24. Guess where I will be on APRIL 24, but NOT on May 24. Damnit. How about an early premiere, just for me, a month in advance? Thanks. God know if it'll ever come to Finland. Uuugh, pain!

I don't appreciate a spoilery trailer, but I still like this one very much.


"If there's any kind of magic in this world, it must be in the attempt of understanding someone, sharing something."

"Do you believe in reincarnation?"

"Actually, I think I'd probably have gotten off the train in Salzburg with someone else."

"I'm gonna take you picture. So I never forget you or all this."

"I's amazing what perverts we've become in the past nine years."

"You want to know why I wrote that stupid book? So that you might come to a reading in Paris and I could walk up to you and ask, 'Where the fuck were you?'"

"I guess when you're young, you just believe there'll be many people with whom you'll connect with. Later in life, you realize it only happens a few times."

"I want to see if you stay together or if you dissolve into molecules."


P.S. Talking about sequels I'm looking forward to: Last night I got an exclusive sneak peak to the Avengers sequel. I really had no idea what was going on, and Tony Stark was really lame, he was just sitting by a wall and moping. The whole thing quickly turned into some haunted mansion mystery tale, and then I went to see a play at my old primary school. Also, Captain America was seriously flirting with me, so I hope they won't cut that from the theatrical release.

Mar 19, 2013

After Ever After

This is so genius! Also a little bit depressing. Mostly genius, though!

Mar 18, 2013

Oz the Great and Powerful (2013) / afternoon in the land of Oz

"How hard can it be to kill a Wicked Witch?"

I was one of the seven people at the 3:45 pm showing of Oz the Great and Powerful last Friday. I hoped I'd be all by myself; in the last couple of months I have, a couple of times, come very close to attending a private screening, but unfortunately that luxury is still waiting to happen. I bet the cinema staff knows me as the poor lonely girl who goes to unpopular matinees all by herself. Haha.

I had no great (or powerful) expectations towards the movie, but I like the stories about Oz and I like Kansas and there's Mila Kunis, so I decided I'd go see it. And, yes, all the Wizard of Oz references were awesome, I loved how much good old Kansas sucked, and Mila Kunis and her character were pretty much the best thing about the whole thing. On the other hand, it was pretty Disney (in both good and bad ways, mostly bad), and it relied far too much on CGI and bright colors and fancy, made-up creatures. And even though I love all that, from bright colors to Disney (even bad Disney), you need more than that for a movie to be great. They won't be still watching and making origin story prequels to this one in seventy years...

The thing about prequels is that it's pretty much impossible to live up to the original. There is no true suspense because we know how things will turn out in the end, more or less. The climax is not truly satisfying, because it's not a happy end, it's a happy middle, and we know that in a few decades all hell will break loose again, and that's when the real hero arrives and saves the day for real. This Oscar person has got nothing on Dorothy: she killed two Wicked Witches, while he kind of just created one. Granted, he does own some nice machines that make pretty illusions.

The acting was somehow really awkward, or at least a bit strange, but then again, maybe it was supposed to be. I definitely got a very strong Wizard of Oz vibe every now and then, so maybe the acting wasn't bad, maybe it was just somewhat weird to see all these famous, modern (and great!) actors like James Franco and Michelle Williams go all 1930s. I don't know.

What I did love about the movie was the feeling of good old nostalgia. It's not that I am completely entitled to feel huge amounts of nostalgia about a film I have seen only twice in my life, both times within a few years, but you know me. I have nostalgia for dinner. The transition from black and white to rich, bright colors was expected, but still very cool. I was hoping they had included a change from 2D to 3D to the transition as well, because that would've added greatly to the effect, but I guess the Kansas part was too lengthy, and if it had been all 2D, they couldn't have charged the whole 3D extra for the tickets. Hah.

I also liked that the China girl was from Chinatown. I liked the Munchkin song. I liked the Yellow Brick Road and the poppy field and the lion, and the flying monkeys that were so scary I felt sorry the kids, and myself. I liked that a villain got a backstory, proving that everything is evil for a reason. I love when they do that. I liked the fireworks and Oz's final trick gave me goosebumps. I wanted to see some ruby slippers, and was a bit disappointed when I didn't.

Oz the Great and Powerful is essentially a Disney adventure, and we have to take all the good and bad things that come with that. At least the lion is far less annoying in this one, compared to the original.

"Kansas is full of good men. I don't want to be a good man. I want to be a great one."

(Nah. You just go stand behind your curtain, while we go back to 1939 to see someone save Oz for real.)

Feb 25, 2013

Oscars 2013: The Verdict

After too few hours of sleep, I cannot be expected to write a coherent text. So I'll just write random thoughts, in a random order. Then I'll maybe sleep some more.

Kristin Chenoweth was a nice change on the Red Carpet, because she was actually a pretty natural interviewer. The first hours were otherwise full of both amused and agonized sighs, aimed towards the incredibly American Red Carpet people. The Finnish commentators made fun of the waving, which was amusing.

The dresses were nice, of course, but I was hoping for more color. And there was not one definite favorite, like last year, with Jessica Chastain, oooh, I still just want to stare at it. But some of my favorites were Halle Berry, Jennifer Lawrence, the little 9-year-old Que, Jessica Chastain (doesn't come close to last year's awe, though), Octavia Spencer, Sally Field and Charlize Theron.

I really did not have any expectations about the host, Seth MacFarlene, but he proved himself to be very hilarious in just a few minutes. Last year they took it so safe with (the ever-charming) Billy Chrystal, so I liked that the jokes were "controversial" this year. I liked the joke about Kate Winslet's boobs, and the one about Daniel Day Lewis trying to free Don Cheadle on the studio lot, the Captain Kirk bit, and John Wilkes Booth ("Really, 150 years and it's still too early?").

Brave won best animation, which was awesome, because I was expecting Wreck-It Ralph (need to see that, actually). I cheered. You go, best-animated-hair-ever! The guy was wearing a kilt. Which is awesome, too.

"So you got nominated for an Oscar: something a 9-year-old could do."

I got my annual fix of Robert Downey Jr. He should've stayed on stage for longer. For the whole show.

Lucius Malfoy won best cinematography for Life of Pi.

I really liked the Chicago/Dreamgirls/Les Mis bit! Catharine Zeta-Jones was a bit lip-synced, but awesome, because Velma Kelly is awesome. One Day More did not make quite that big an impact, now that the cast was wearing smart suits and sparkly dresses, instead of muddy rugs. Still, it was great, really great. Jennifer Hudson sang the heck out of the them all, though.

There was a tie! I didn't realize that can actually happen, but I think this was the third time, or something.

Adele was so great. I mean, that woman! Wow.

Jennifer! When they announced her name, I cheered and then said to my friend, 'I hope she does something dorky', and immediately after that she fell down in the stairs. You're my hero, Jennifer Lawrence!

I liked that there was a theme. It made the show a bit more coherent than usually.

I was a bit bored about Daniel Day Lewis's win, but his speech was really sweet and funny. I'd like to see Lincoln, starring Meryl Streep. By the way, Meryl Streep! Just her luck, isn't it? She thought she could maybe, just for once, skip the Oscars, because for the first time in her life she is not nominated, but then of course she had to come and present. I love her, and her dress, and just, her.

So, Argo won the main prize. Ben Affleck gave such a sweetheart speech, and it was difficult to disapprove. He doesn't usually associate his wife with Iran.

I like that everyone won a little something, and there was not one film to sweep all the awards. Argo won three, including best picture, and Life of Pi won four. So let's call it a tie, shall we? I just typed 'Life of Pie', there. Might be getting hungry. It's always appropriate to have breakfast at 3 pm.

Overall, it was a very satisfactory year. I have some problems with Argo, but who cares about my problems. Quentin won, and Christoph Waltz, and Brave, and Anne Hathaway, and Ang Lee, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson's uniforms, and Jennifer, and at one point there were five Avengers on stage. Harry Potter danced and sang. Channing Tatum didn't take his clothes off, which was a bit disappointing. Ang Lee thanked the movie god, and I understood what he said in Chinese (he said thank you: what a shocker). Meryl Streep literally did not need introductions. That was hilarious, and so true.

That's that. I'll keep it nice and short, before the notorious Jaws melody begins to play and they cut me off. Until next year, Kodak Theater! Yeah, I know you changed your name, but there's no fooling me.

Feb 24, 2013

Preparing for the Oscars 2013

Oscar night is tonight. This year I won't be blogging my way through the night, which is a relief for anyone who attempted to read my running commentary for last year's gala. I will, however, as tradition goes, eat until I burst, and enjoy the heck out of myself, even though they will, as tradition goes, be rewarding all the wrong films and people.

I am unusually undetermined this year. I don't have a clear favorite, or even definite instinctive preferences. Only that I don't wish Argo to win. I'm not really on track about which film is expected to win, but I think Argo has won many other awards, right? I hope Argo won't win. That would be boring. Kind of like the movie. Okay, boring is not the right word. Underwhelming is.

Here are some categories that I have opinions about. They are very sophisticated and reasonable opinions about who I have determined should win. As you will see, I have really put much thought and consideration on this.


Visual effects: The Avengers. And the Oscar goes to Captain America! What's the category? Who cares!

Make-up: The Hobbit. The little brother of Lord of the Rings deserves at least one Oscar, right?

Costume design: Anna Karenina. Mm-hm. Excellent costume designing here, yes. I'm not talking about Anna's dresses. I'm talking about uniforms that go great with the hottest mustache in history.

Cinematography: Life of Pi. I'm thinking about that underwater shot where Pi sees the sinking ship. That was a cool shot. Oscar-worthy, perhaps.

Animated film: Brave. I haven't seen any of the other animations, but I know for sure none of them features as much amazing hair as Brave.

Adapted screenplay: Life of Pi. Just a hunch.

Original screenplay: Django Unchained. Tarantino screenplays are hard to beat in originality!

Directing: Ang Lee. The Academy needs to make amends for robbing Brokeback Mountain that damn Best Picture Oscar. They need to make amends until the world ends. And then some.

Supporting actress: Anne Hathaway. For looking so damn miserable. And losing all that weight for a film that featured her only for what seemed like fifteen minutes.

Supporting actor: Christoph Waltz. He should get another Oscar for Hans Landa. That role was a bingo.

Actress: Jennifer Lawrence / Jessica Chastain / Naomi Watts. I love J-Law. Loooove her. But Jessica Chastain is so cool, too. And damn me, if she wears a dress as gorgeous as the one last year... I'm sold! But Naomi Watts is the only nominee in all the categories representing The Impossible. That film was crazy, I'd give it the Best Picture Oscar just for making me cry so much. So much. So insanely much. But Jennifer it is. Because she's my hero and my girl crush and she's such a dork.

Actor: Um. I really don't know. I mean, isn't it sort of given that Abraham "DDL" Lincoln triumphs? But I don't know. That would be boring.

Finally, an in-depth analysis on every Best picture contender:

Amour. Haven't seen it. It's French. So maybe I wouldn't like it. I'm intimidated by French films. Expect for silent black-and-white ones, featuring a dog.

Argo. I just don't want this one to win. It was so underwhelming. Bad, bad Middle-East. American heroes, blah. Okay, let's pretend my biggest hero of 2012 was not called Captain America.

Beasts of the Southern Wild. Haven't seen it, yet.

Django Unchained. Wouldn't mind if it won, not at all. It's quite a movie. It would actually be pretty awesome if it won. I promise I would cheer. But that's not going to happen, right? It would be too good if it did.

Les Misérables. I just went to see this one, in the afternoon before the Oscars, so I can't really say anything about it, because I'm too busy humming Do You Hear the People Sing in my head.

Life of Pi. Strange. I feel like I might be rooting for this one. That one little twist at the end of the film has definitely stuck with me.

Lincoln. Missed it in theaters. Points for American history. Points for the emancipation of slaves. But I can't imagine connecting with a film like this very much, if at all. Let's just say that I'm prejudiced, and won't be voting for America's favorite president.

Silver Linings Playbook. I've been having a hard time with this film. I wanted to love it. I didn't. I just liked it. But then again, I was really tired when I saw it. And even if I didn't love the film, I do love Jennifer Lawrence. So I will rooting for SLP as well. Not quite as much as I will be rooting for Life of Pi, Django Unchained and perhaps Les Misérables, but anyway. It's a romcom, in its core. Romcoms don't win Oscars. I'd love if for once they would.

Zero Dark Thirty. This was a really cool and interesting film, and Jessica Chastain's girl power was amazing. I would totally approve if it won. With all the controversy, though, I doubt it ever could.


So. I am wonderfully non-opinionated about everything. All I know is that I don't want Argo to win. Which means it probably will. Well. I got what I wanted last year, with The Artist, so maybe this year it's time for another King's Speech scale travesty. This Social Network fanatic will never forgive you, Tom Hooper! Now, if you'll excuse, I'll go listen to On My Own and pretend you didn't have anything to do with all the goosebumps I experienced at the cinema today.

Feb 22, 2013

Too early to get hyped for Catching Fire

Too late to get nothing but hyped.

Jan 21, 2013

Anna Karenina (2012) / appreciation for Aaron Taylor-Johnson's mustache

"You can't ask why about love."

I'm being very honest with the title there. I really am not going to talk about the movie Anna Karenina that much. I'm just mostly going to talk about Aaron Taylor-Johnson's mustache. I wish I was kidding.

Anna Karenina was very much what I expected it to be. It was quite pleasant to watch, not just because of the certain mustache, but also because of the beautiful sets and the cinematography and the costumes. Joe Wright has directed many films that I have enjoyed watching, first and foremost Atonement, which is one of my favorite films of all time, and which also made me fall irrevocably in love with James McAvoy. And which I haven't seen in a few years, actually! Gee, I need to fix that. And see if it's still favorite material.

I am one of those people who have always liked Keira Knightley. Admittedly, most of my positive sentiments for her derive from Atonement (and that gorgeous green dress!), but I've enjoyed her other performances, too. If nothing else, she can definitely pull of a sophisticated, 18th/19th century aristocrat lady.  By the way, the make-up department should get an Oscar for making Jude Law look so unattractive. That takes some skill, yo!

I find it amusing that Matthew Macfayden has been demoted from being Keira Knightley's love interest to being her brother. Ouch! The years have not been as kind to Mr. Darcy as they have been to Elizabeth Bennet. (Macfayden is eleven years Knightley's senior, though, so it's only fair that he retires from romantic leading roles earlier than her.) I liked his character, though. Comic relief is always likable.

The film was a tad too long, and at times felt very aimless. I'm not sure about the necessity of some of the subplots. Like I'm not sure whether I liked the way they used the stage as a device in telling the story. It felt strange, and confusing in the beginning.

The romance of Anna Karenina and Count Vronsky is the heart of the story, so I guess it is the thing that has to be blamed for the film leaving my mind un-blown. I mean, of course I find the premise completely believable: Bring me Aaron Taylor-Johnson wearing that mustache and the hair and the uniform, and have him shoot a few of those seductive glances at me, and I'll leave my imaginary husband before you can say, "It's ironic that Jude Law plays the decent, saint-like husband who gets cheated on by his wife who falls for someone young and good-looking".

Anyway. What I most enjoyed about the film was the beginning: when they brought in Aaron T-J (damn you, dude, for getting married and changing your last name into something so long and troublesome to type) and painted the picture about what a charmer and a heart-breaker he is, and then had him and Keira exchange some of those lingering looks loaded with sexual tension, and showed him kissing hands in intense and intimate close-ups. Ooooh. Yeah, after that no member of the audience can blame Anna Karenina for ruining her life for this young hunk of a man.

Let's review:

The best things about Anna Karenina, pt. 1: The smoking hot glances full of pure sex and seduction.
The best things about Anna Karenina, pt. 2: The super hot close-ups of kissing of hands.

Unfortunately, after the hand-kissing and the sex-glancing have worked their magic, and Anna and Vronsky fall in love so swiftly and randomly during one dance that you think you're watching a Disney animation, my interest and hopes for the film drop significantly, not to to be raised again.

Not even letting us witness the two of them kissing, more passionately and more up close than any of us in the audience feel comfortable watching, could revive the excited feelings I felt in the beginning. Because, in the end, I felt we didn't get to see enough layers in the characters. We see they are both very attractive, but we don't really get why that attraction turned into love. But, well, you can't ask why about love, you know. Still, I wanted to go a little deeper. I didn't end up caring about the characters too much.

What I did care about, however, was Aaron Taylor-Johnson's mustache. It's weird. One should not look good in a mustache. Who really wears a mustache? Except for Charlie Chaplin and Hitler, and only one of them looks good wearing it. A mustache and a head full of fake blond curls is not the easiest combination to rock, especially if you are obligated to charm all of Earth's female population while doing it. So, two thumbs up for Aaron T-J for showing that mustache can be the new sexy. We can only hope he'll adapt that look to the Kick-Ass sequel, too. Really, honestly, seriously: Not many young men could pull of that look.

The best things about Anna Karenina, pt. 3: The mustache.

I went to see Anna Karenina in the cinema of my childhood and teenage years, which was so nice, because it had been ages since the last time I went there. The audience consisted mostly of high school kids, who had come to see the film as a class assignment. Me and and my friend felt old, and oddly envious of the lucky 16-year-olds, for having such simple lives, and just hanging out at school, only dreaming about their future, instead of having to live it. Anyway, the teenagers giggled at certain parts that made them feel uncomfortable, and that made me feel uncomfortable. At times I didn't have an idea why they were bursting out laughing. Oh well. Perhaps you can't ask why about unintentional comedy, either.

Then I came to think that had they made the Star Wars prequels ten years later, Aaron Johnson (or Taylor-Johnson, whatever) could have been the perfect Anakin Skywalker that Hayden Christensen was never quite able to be. He actually might have made some of the awkward romance scenes work, too, with a few of those Glances of Seduction. Might have. Just something I hope to have a detailed, vivid, lengthy dream about tonight.


I start writing these things, thinking I have hardly anything to say, because the film didn't have much of an impact on me, but then I end up writing a post, comparable to a Tolstoy classic in length. Oh, the power of a good mustache. I'll finish by quoting the actual novel, and maybe thus fool you into thinking that this has been a very intelligent and sophisticated post, indeed.

He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.

~ Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Jan 12, 2013

Life of Pi (2012) / welcome to Pi's ark

"It's an amazing story."

Life of Pi scored eleven Oscar nominations earlier this week. I felt the pressure and went to see it. Someone who wishes to call herself a movie fanatic has got to do what someone who wishes to call herself a movie fanatic has got to do.

Life of Pi begins as tale of our main character growing up, describing the humorous events of how he got his name, Piscine Molitor Patil, and how he then came to be called simply Pi. Things turning more tragic, we then see him leave for a voyage that will change his life. The ship is caught in a storm, and Pi finds himself in a  lifeboat, alone with a fierce Bengal tiger. What follows is incredibly beautiful visual images of all the things Pi and the tiger see and experience, equally incredible turns of events, and a lot of growling and exposed, sharp teeth. It all comes down to an ending that you don't expect, or even look for. How you are left feeling, exiting the cinema, is up to you.

What I expected to get out of this film all had to do with the visuals, because the trailer doesn't give much of a hint about the story and storytelling; it just shows some of those images that you get to enjoy, praising the modern CGI up to the heavens. Really, I love what they are able to do nowadays. The colors are so bright, the details so sharp, the non-existing things so realistic. Still, I need much more than CGI from a film, no matter how incredibly good the technology is. Life of Pi is very much like Hugo was for me last year: enjoyable to look at, a nice story, but not nice enough to stir anything below the surface. Or that's how I felt until the very last minute. Or second-to-last, or whatever. In the end, Life of Pi dived pretty deep. Almost as deep as that endless sea that surrounds Pi and Richard Parker.

Speaking of seas, this is the second film I saw in cinema this week (don't worry bank account, awards seasons don't last forever...) with the sea doing some serious damage. If I'm not careful, my adoring love for oceans might turn into a trauma of some level. Thanks to the modern CGI technology.

I think that's all I have to say. I'll let the pictures speak for the visual awesomeness of the film. As for the deep diving, learn more at your nearest cinema.

"I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye."

Jan 10, 2013

The New Normal / when Klaine grew up

"I want us to have baby clothes. And a baby to wear them."

I don't know if I really like Ryan Murphy. Perhaps he is not the easiest person to like. But I guess I have to admit the man is a genius on some level. I mean, he once created that show which I kind of liked for a while, I don't remember what it's called, I think it's a four-letter word starting with a G, meaning joy and cheerfulness, or something.

...You have just read my spectacular introduction to my post about The New Normal, a new-ish sitcom by Ryan Murphy, the man behind Nip/Tuck, American Horror Story and Glee. It tells about David and Bryan, who have a really lovely relationship, but what they are missing is a baby. They find Goldie to be their surrogate, and with her they also get her 9-year old, precocious, eccentric daughter Shania, and her conservative, brutally offensive, and confusingly young grandmother. Together they make a family that ten years ago would've been really strange and groundbreaking and original, but now, with Modern Family and all that, we are just looking at quite a stereotypical 2013 sitcom family. Like, normal. I'm not sure if this what they were going for with the title, but anyways.

I hadn't watched The New Normal until today. I'd thought I should and would, partly because it's a Ryan Murphy show, and me and Ryan Murphy shows share a nice history (Except for Nip/Tuck. And American Horror Story. Hmm. Anyway!), but mostly because I loved Justin Bartha in National Treasure, more than I love American history. The New Normal just won the People's Choice Award for Best New TV Comedy, actually! I guess I could say that's why I was inspired to watch the first episode, but no, I only just noticed it won. Earlier I just noticed that The Hunger Games and the lovably dorky Jennifer Lawrence won a lot (P.S. I love you, first photos from Catching Fire!), and that RDJ always gives the best, sexiest acceptance speeches, and that Chris Colfer also won and said he finds it flattering when people exploit him in their fanfiction, which I thought was both a hilarious and extremely dangerous thing to say. Anyway! I should get some award for rambling. These posts are getting more and more out of hand...

After watching the first episode (for a random reason I guess we'll never know), I watched the second episode, and then the third, and continued until I'd watched all the episodes that have come out so far. Don't freak out, there's only been twelve, and the episodes are sitcom short. The show is nothing new, really, or utterly genius like Glee, but it's fun and I really like the characters (although some more than others).

And it's a bit like Glee, to be honest: First, what's up with RM and Ohio? Also, there are at least three actors in the show that have also guest-starred on Glee. And character similarities... The Nana character is offensive and fires her absurd opinions and insults at everyone's faces, but there is reason and heart underneath her plain-colored tracksuits, um, I mean jacket suits. Bryan and David are more or less what we could imagine Kurt and Blaine to be, fifteen years after high school. I mean, you easily could've had Darren Criss play the college-graduate David in those flashbacks, with the big curly hair and dorky/cool glasses. Just add a bow-tie. Well. Don't you worry, Kurt and Blaine! When you grow up you can leave that dreadful place also known as Fox, and move to NBC, and then you can kiss more, like normal couples! (I'm not complaining, of course. No one hugs like Klaine!)

Ryan Murphy has often said Kurt is based on himself in high school. Now, I don't have to read any interviews to know who Bryan is based on. Come on, who is that name fooling? To rub it on our faces even more, (B)ryan runs a popular TV show called Sing, starring a lot of young people like a kid in a wheelchair who isn't actually in a wheelchair and who wears weird pullovers, and someone I'm pretty sure he called Lea before naming her his favorite. And then once he decided to break up a fan favorite couple on the show so that teenagers would cry for months. Touche. I might be past teenage, but dang it, the sun hasn't shone quite as bright since the damnable day Klaine broke up.

I feel like I've done nothing in this post but talked about Glee and mocked The New Normal itself. It's not news that I like talking about Glee. Like it's not news that there are similarities in these two shows (I mean, I'm pretty sure some of those lines about daring to dream and being proud of who you are were actually quoted word-to-word from Glee). Like it's not news that Ryan Murphy is most inspired by Ryan Murphy (which is not necessarily a bad thing, I mean, who am I to judge, having once again spent another day watching a show of his). Like it's not news that I don't know where I'm heading to with this paragraph. I think I was trying to make a transition to talk about my favorite characters.

I love Justin Bartha in this show as much as I loved him in National Treasure. He single-handedly saved that movie from Nicholas Cage, like he almost saved National Treasure: Book of Secrets from yet another Nicholas Cage. He's just a really cool actor. And I like David, the butch gay of the bunch. I also like Shania, the quirky young girl with the personality and the glasses that no one can help but associate to Little Miss Sunshine. (Not a bad thing!) Completing my top three is Nana Sylvester, or whatever her name is, 'the last real American', the biggest Republican in the world.

The New Normal is a fun, cute show. And there must be something slightly addictive about it, since I just watched all the episodes in one afternoon. I've been mocking it for resembling Glee, but there has really been extremely little singing, and honestly, I wouldn't be fooling anyone if I said I didn't like the Glee parallels. Like I said before in this horribly meandering post, The New Normal is nothing new, though. Except for some idiots in Utah who banned it from the state television, and also for 38 idiots who signed a hilarious petition I found online, demanding NBC to stop airing the show. Christian society and innocent children, and all that, you know. Sometimes I forget how some people still find certain things so new and scary. Oh well! I'll be very happy to keep watching this same-old-same-old, and hopefully they'll even make another season! With the People's Choice Award fresh in their back-pockets, they just might. More Justin Bartha for me! (Please make National Treasure 3! Without Nicholas Cage.)

I am truly sorry if someone decided to read this post, hoping to actually learn something about the show mentioned in the title. Well, that's not how I roll, unfortunately.

Jan 8, 2013

The Impossible (2012) / two hours on the verge of tears

"The most scary bit for me... when I came up, and I was all on my own."

When it comes to movies, I'm definitely a weeper. But I tend to save most of the weeping to times when I'm alone: I'm not a cinema weeper. I get a bit teary-eyed, or sometimes I even have to hastily wipe my cheek for an escaped little tear that I couldn't blink away. But I don't openly bawl like a baby. Although apparently there are exceptions. Or an exception. I've never cried in a cinema like I just did! Really, it was exhausting.

It's been eight years since Boxing Day 2004. Horrible things have happened after that, too, executed by both people and nature, but the tsunami in South East Asia is likely to linger on everyone's minds, because it so closely touched so many people, all over the world. The Impossible tells the true story of one of the families, caught in the middle of the horrifying mayhem.

The film was good. I can't say I liked it, because I don't think anyone can really like weeping for two straight hours, but it was a very good film. It doesn't feast in the horribleness of the true events, and the wave part itself (even if the one of the scariest, most distressing scenes ever) is over very soon, so the emphasis stays on the family, and their desperate quest to reunite. I was actually really scared, expecting the wave, knowing it would come soon, and I just wished I could have continued to watch the idyllic family holiday in the paradise. The special effects were horrifyingly convincing. I adore oceans, love staring at them, but the sea was the villain in The Impossible. Scary as hell, too.

Acting-wise the film was quite perfect. Naomi Watts has already snapped several nominations, and for a reason: she had to cry almost as much as I did. The young Tom Holland, playing the eldest son of the family, has also been recognized. Personally, I think his role was the most challenging one, and he quite unexpectedly ended up being the most significant person in the story, for me. He's so going to be a star, that kid. (Just found out Tom Holland was actually playing Billy Elliot in the musical in London at the time I went to see it. I wish I'd remember if he was the Billy in the performance I saw...) Ewan McGregor pulled my poor heartstrings, too, with all that emotion of a desperate father and husband. (Having just re-watched the Star Wars prequels, I couldn't help but wonder, between all the tears, where in the hell was all that emotion when he needed it in the Revenge of the Sith? Oh well, too good acting by him would've looked weird beside all that other awkward, melodramatic "acting"...)

By the way, Charlie Chaplin's daughter was in the film, too! I didn't realize it when watching her scene; only when I saw her name in the end credits I was able to link it to her face. Thanks for the tears, Geraldine! I must have had dry eyes for at least a minute and then you came along... I must say the youngest brothers acted extremely well, too, for being so young. And they were very cute.

I have one big critique. The trailer for this film SUCKS! I genuinely hope I had not seen it before seeing the film. It is one of those stupid trailers that give way too much away. I realized that immediately after watching the trailer. Too much information, and not in a good way! It should come with a warning: "Watching this trailer will ruin all the suspense of watching the film for you! Also, don't wear mascara to the cinema."

To return to the weeping thing (like I hadn't been referring to the weeping thing in every other sentence)... Seriously, this was a cinema crying record! Almost any film crying record! When I wasn't openly bawling  my eyes out and getting my whole face soaking wet, I was blinking or swallowing a lump in my throat. I can't come up with a film more emotionally exhausting... Well, Schindler's List, maybe, but that one's in a league of its own.

The Impossible is not the kind of film you'd want to see again and again. Once is enough. It's heavy, devastating, and exhaustingly moving. It gives you a piece of hope, only to point out how horrible things still are, and there's no way this story can end happily. It reminds you that Christmas 2004 was really not that long ago, and this is a film that many people around the world will not go see, because eight years is not enough to get over certain things. It shows that reality beats fiction, any day. It makes you want to go and hug your family, embarrassingly tight.

Like I said to my friend when we parted, I definitely need to watch some Glee before going to bed tonight. Isn't that the most wonderfully, pathetically convenient thing about films? However distressing they are, afterwards you can always drag yourself back to your own, simple life, and start worrying about your own, simple problems. Because it was just a film. Even if based on very, very real events.

Jan 5, 2013

Lord of the Lists

My annual Christmas holiday Lord of the Rings Extended Edition rewatch inspired me to draw up some lists. They are related to the films, of course, because I sucked at reading the books. Before I get started, however, I'd like to present to you the one and only quote from the books that made such an impression on me that it has lingered in my mind. It's from The Two Towers, uttered by Treebeard.

"Those were the broad days. Time was when I could walk and sing all day and hear no more than the echo of my own voice in the hollow hills. The woods were like the woods of Lothlórien, only thicker, stronger, younger. And the smell of the air! I used to spend a week just breathing."

I love the idea of just breathing seven days straight! Haha, that's actually exactly what I felt like doing after returning back to Finland from China.

Now, from Tolkien's Middle-Earth to the one of Peter Jackson, and my favorite things about it.

Jan 3, 2013

New Year Resolutions 2013

After 2011 and 2012, I thought I'd make 2013 a bit easier for myself. At least in theory. In avarage, I chose much more recent movies for this year, less Oscar winners, and not a single Hitchcock! Then again, I can't imagine enjoying myself too much with the likes of Mr. Sylvester and Mr. Arnold, running around killing things and being all macho and brutal and manly. But I guess these are classics, too, and I definitely wouldn't watch those movies volunteerily. This makes them perfect candidates for my traditional New Year resolutions! Ahaha, bring the pain!

January: Alien (1979)

February: Amadeus (1984)

March: All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

April: Rocky (1976)

May: City of God (2002)

June: The Color Purple (1985)

July: Rambo (1982)

AugustOn the Waterfront (1954)

September: The Terminator (1984)

October: Raging Bull (1980)

November: Fargo (1996)

December: Die Hard (1988)