Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Why I love her.
May 7, 2010

Earlier this week Beyoncé released her latest video “Why Don’t You Love Me” off the deluxe version of I Am… Sasha Fierce.  It is amazing.  Beyoncé embrases the 1950’s pin-up/housewife theme and runs with it.  The video is shot beautifully and she looks amazing in every outfit.

My favorite look is her with all the eye make-up streaming down her face as she cries, smokes and drinks.  She looks flawless and the everything in the shot is working together.


In 2008, Ashanti released her most recent studio album The Declaration.  Her second single, “Good Good” did not do very well on the charts, but the music video has a simliar theme to Beyoncé’s new video.  Both have a 1950’s pin-up/housewife theme showing the artist doing chores around the house for their man.

Some people might see this connection and claim that Beyoncé stole this look from Ashanti.  I can see where people might think that, but Beyoncé took the same theme and gave it a purpose.  She made it look expensive and classy.  Beyoncé’s video could be a clip from a film, while Ashanti’s is nothing more than a music video.  Don’t get wrong, I enjoy Ashanti, but we all know Beyoncé is on another level.  Sorry, Ashanti.


Check out Beyoncé’s “Why Don’t You Love Me” and Ashanti’s “Good Good”  below.

footnote:  Only a true divacan stop a music video to dust her 16 Grammys.  All hail Beyoncé.

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The Story of Avatar
February 21, 2010

Warning:  Mild Spoilers

With the Academy awards upon us, and the phenomenon that is James Cameron’s Avatar, I have been hearing a lot of talk about it.  No one is debating Avatar’s beauty or the ‘RealD’ special effects, but everyone is coming after the story.  My question is why.

Yes, the story is the nothing new, but it didn’t claim to be.  It is a great version of a story that is frequently retold in our history; an updated version of the Colonist vs. the Native Americans.  It is powerful and relevant.  I loved it for what is was.

It seems to me that people are looking for something to hate on, and that’s fine.  I get it.  But please don’t disrespect.  Regardless of the plot, Avatar has changed the way movies will be made.  It deserves all the attention its getting.

Now the question is, will Avatar take home the Best Picture statue on March 7th.  I don’t know.  I honestly don’t think it was the ‘best picture’ of the year, but I don’t know what will beat it.  The Hurt Locker (directed by Cameron’s ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow) is rumored to a top contender, however giving The Hurt Locker the night’s top award would be going against the Academy’s new 10 nominee policy.  The main purpose of 10 nominees are to get more popular films honored by the Academy.  In a popularity contest, no one can touch Avatar.

Will Avatar sweep the Oscars, or is the Academy over giving the crown to the most popular girl in school?  We’ll see on March 7th.

footnote:  If you haven’t seen Avatar yet, ONLY see it in 3D.  Don’t play yourself.

Music Video Math
February 16, 2010

M.I.A. – ‘Boyz

+

Solange – ‘I Decided (Part 1)

=

Rihanna’s new music video ‘Rude Boy

The best of the best.
February 8, 2010

My favorite of last night.  Thank you Google.

They got it right.
January 13, 2010


Last night George sent the Youtube link for Jay-Z’s music video “On To The Next One.” The video is absolutely amazing. I was not a fan of the song, but the video has made me do a complete 180. They got it right. The video is extremely contemporary and almost high-end.

While watching this video, It occurred to me that Hova, like his wife Beyonce, has had similarly themed music videos for their last albums. The majority of both artisits’ music videos have been black and white. Jay-Z’s videos have focused on flashing imagery while Beyonce’s videos have focused on her choreography with two back up dancers.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. My favorite music videos tend to be black and white. I hope everyone else enjoys this video as much as I did. The video’s dark tone is almost haunting but nevertheless captivating. I can’t look away.

Not enough Lying.
October 16, 2009

Last night I saw The Invention of Lying. Here is my review:

WARNING: Mild Spoilers.

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This film was an amazing idea, but not well executed. If you are looking to see it, rent it in 5 months. I laughed out loud a lot in the beginning. The humor is very dry and a little dark, but I enjoy that.

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The plot was a bit underdeveloped to me.  The plot seemed to be broken up into thirds. It begins with the world today if no one could tell a lie and says exactly what they are thinking. This worked great in the beginning of the film. It was really funny and a little heartbreaking. The next section deals with Ricky Gervais, played by Mark Bellison, as he “invents lying” and changes his life completely. The third section of the movie turns into a humorous yet powerful commentary on religion and our society as a whole. All of these concepts were great, but because they were crammed in one movie it left me wanting more, not to mention the major loop-holes in the plot near the end.

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The cast was completely cameos. I am fairly good at remembering actors names and other roles, so this movie was like a game for me. Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman played a bartender and probably had six lines in the entire film. Bellison and Jennifer Garner were very good in the lead roles. Bellison is always hilarious and Garner is slowly winning me over. I love to see her play an uptight, slightly anal character as opposed to a “I will kick your ass” character which jump started her career. Jonah Hill is always hilarious. I don’t know what it is about him, but when ever he is on the screen I burst out laughing.

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Overall, I would recommend this movie for for rental only. Don’t waste your money seeing it in the theatres. It is entertaining but it drags on. I almost wish it didn’t come out in theatres, because I think with a little more work, it could have been a masterpiece. Bummer.

Not even close to Normal.
September 22, 2009

Last night, Courtney took me to see Next to Normal on Broadway.  Here is my review:

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I feel like I say this a lot, but I was blown away.  And if that cliché is now understated, I was blown to bits.  It was by far the most emotional show I have seen on stage.  From the first song to the last, I was fighting back tears.

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I do not want to give a lot away, but there is a huge plot twist early in the first act that changes the entire dynamic of the show.  I thought it was just another dysfunctional family reminiscent of August: Osage County, but it was more. August: Osage County is my far the best play I have ever seen.  Its writing and plot twists are in my thoughts to this day, and now I feel like Next to Normal will be right there with it.  It is hard not to compare the two but they both shine in different ways.  The clearest way I can break it down is August is deep and Next to Normal is emotional.

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Alice Ripley plays Diana, the mother of the family who seems to cause most of the stress.  She won the Tony this past year for ‘Best Leading Actress in Musical.’  In an earlier entry, I picked my favorites for this years Tony’s but I was unaware of how powerful Ripley was in this role.  There was no contest in that category.  And in retrospect, Next to Normal was an extremely close second to Billy Elliott for the top prize of Best Musical, in my opinion.

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Not only was the story great, but the overall production was quite impressive.  The set was simple and modern and left just enough to the imagination.  The music was great as well as the writing.  I am a little hesitant to upload the soundtrack to my iPod because it was that heavy.  Even with two under-studies, the acting was brilliant and completely convincing.  I lost myself in that show.

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If you are looking for a Broadway show to see, I would highly recommend Next to Normal.  It is anything but normal.  It is haunting and I hope I get to see it again.  And hurry!  Alice Ripley might leave the show any day now.

Sapphire is a Gem
September 20, 2009

About a month ago, I finally finished Push: A Novel by Sapphire and here is my review.

PUSH: a Novel by SapphireIt was great.  I really enjoyed it.  It is a very short read, but it was hard for me to get through.  It is extremely well written, but it is written in the first person of Precious Jones, the protagonist.  Precious Jones is a 16-year-old girl who is illiterate and has a an unbelievably rough life, so the beginning of the novel is written almost completely phonetically.  Sapphire really impressed me with her writing skills, because as the story progresses, you can see Precious’ spelling and writing gradually become better.  On top of that, the content is so intense, I really had to take my time to get through it.

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Previously, in a ‘trailers to watch’ posting, I wrote about the highly anticipated movie Precious coming out.  This is the book that that movie is based on.  The movie debuted at Sundance this past year and won multiple awards including the Jury Prize for Mo’Nique role as Precious’ mother.   Now Mo’Nique is already being considered for a Best Supporting Actress Nomination in the 2010 Academy Awards.

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The story takes place in the late 1980’s in Harlem, blocks away from my old apartment. The book was so rough and so real that I am not sure how much they will have to edit down to make it a major motion picture.  Precious’ history with her mother and father was nothing but negative and her life was an uncontrolled downward spiral.  The ending of the book was a little hopeful and uplifting, but still completely depressing.  I am sure things will have to be lightened up for the movie.

Overall, the book was excellent and I would highly recommend it.  And I cannot wait for the movie.  And to top it off, Oprah is an executive producer, so I feel like it is going to be an instant classic.  The release date for the film is November 6th, but I recommend reading the book ahead of time.  You will be blown away.

Quentin, you did it again!
August 21, 2009

Last night/this morning, I saw Inglorious Basterds. Here is my review:

Warning: Mild Spoilers

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I was blown away. Quentin Tarantino really did it for me. From the preview, I was not sure if this film would stay true to Tarantino, but it sure did. It had all the suspenseful dialogue and gory action that has made Tarantino one of the best filmmakers of our time.

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The acting was impeccable all around. Brad Pitt‘s accent in the trailer seemed like a joke, but his performance was very entertaining and on point. The screen stealer of this film was Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa. He played manipulative, suave and scary so well.  He mostly does German films.  But after this performance, I think we well be seeing more of him in American cinema.

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This movie is the definition of a revenge fantasy.  It is Tarantino’s interpretation of what should have happened to the Nazi’s, including collecting their scalps.  If you know anything about World War II, you know that this is not historically accurate, but I think that makes it better.  You really don’t know what is going to happen next.  It really showcases Quentin Tarantino’s imagination to do such a fresh spin on a Nazi movie.

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Overall, I would highly recommend this movie. It was one of the most entertaining films I have seen this year. Now that the Academy changed the rules for Best Picture Nominees from 5 nominees to 10, I think this Inglorious Basterds has a good change of being in that group.  If you are a Tarantino fan, go see this movie.  Hopefully, you will enjoy it as much as I did.

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footnote:  It is two and a half hours long, so brace yourself.

Not that Funny.
August 4, 2009

Tonight I saw Funny People and here’s my review:

Warning: Spoilers

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I didn’t hate it, but I definitely did not like it.  True, it was nothing like I thought it would be, but at the same time I left disappointed.  I am a huge Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen fan.  I haven’t seen all of their films, but 90% of them I love.  They usually hit the nail on the head for me.  I am a Adam Sandler fan, especially of his work in the 90’s.  Lately he hasn’t been rocking my boat, but regardless, I was so excited for this movie.

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It did nothing for me.  There were some parts were I laughed, but the awkward, depressing gaps in the between those few moments left a stronger impact.  For the first half of the movie, famous comedian and film star George Simmons, played by Sandler (who is literally him playing himself), is diagnosed with a type of leukemia and basically given a 8% survival rate.  He picks up the struggling young Ira, played by Rogen, as his assistant/writer/bff.  He then leads a miserable, shallow life parallel to a grandpa making wise cracks younger people.  Sure there are some funny one-liners but in the end, you just feel bad for him and not in a funny way.

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The second half of the movie did not really get better.  Simmons realizes that he has wasted his life and tries to compensate by ruining the marriage of the woman he loved and cheated on as Ira stands by helpless to stop it.  The plot became anti-climatic and I began to lose all compassion for the characters.  It is not that the movie was uncomfortable or awkward, but it was just sad.

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All of the characters were well done and individually had shinning moments.  The scene stealer’s were Jonah Hill who was hilarious and Aziz Ansari as RAAAAAAAANDY.  Hill never fails me, and Ansari is my new obsession.  Eric Bana was a great change of pace and delivered.  But all of these characters had such little screen time that I was left wanting more.

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Seeing so many Apatow movies, you begin to see a deja vu.  I was getting flash backs to Knocked Up, also by Apatow, as I watched Seth Rogen play in a suburban southern California playground with Apatow’s daughters once again.

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Overall, I would not recommend this movie.  It was not what I thought it would be or what I wanted.  If you really want to see it, watch it on-line.  Don’t waste your money.  It reminded me of that part in those typical funny movies where the main characters argue or fight and you awkwardly laugh cause you feel like you should, but nothing really funny is happening.  Maybe I need to see it again, but at this point, I don’t really want to.

footnote:  Courtney and Austen liked it so you might feel differently.