Check out Flixster

For the last few months I've been a user on a site called Flixster; it's kind of like a MySpace for movie lovers. You set up a basic profile page, list some of your favorite movies, actors and directors, talk about yourself a little bit, then the fun starts. If you're a Netflix member, you know how addicting rating movies using their star system can be. Once I was on Flixster a few days I found that I had rated over 1000 movies in a little less than a week (see my ratings). Now of course making friends through Flixster is one the major goals of the site and they have developed a simple way for you to meet people with similar or opposite film tastes. Take the MCT (Movie Compatibility Test) and see where you compare with people who rated the same movies you did. I had a lot of fun making my friends sign up and take the test and seeing how they rated the 50 sample movies. On the site you can also add favorite actor photos and movie clips to your profile page. Also you can make theme lists and even create a widget to display them on your bloc or mishaps like the one on I made of all the recent movies I've seen (see sidebar). So if you use mishaps, gangs or Live Journal, check out fluster and see what you think.

In the news today, the Dixie Chicks documentary Shut Up And Sing was denied ad time on the NBC and CW networks. The reasons vary and they are all vague, but the point here is that this is a film defending freedom of speech and it's getting censored by giant corporations. The film opens in 4 theaters this weekend in LA and New York.

Also if you have seen The Departed and it's original version Infernal Affairs, check out David Bordwell's commentary on the two over at his site, a very good read.

That's it for now, next post will be my review of The Prestige; guess what? I liked it... A LOT.


DVD review: The Break Up

If you've ever been in a relationship where you fight over the same dumb little things over and over: don't watch The Break Up, you'll start having flashbacks. Unfortunately for our couple in question they never do anything to make changes to avoid the next round of petty conflicts. Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston are apparently a real life couple off camera, let's hope that they are nicer to each other in reality. Though the DVD cover claims "The funniest movie of the year", there is nothing funny, or even fun for that matter, about this story.
The movie begins with what is probably the 100th fight about Vaughn's character being careless and inconsiderate and Aniston's being overbearing and demanding and ends in her stating that "it's over". Instead of talking about it the two of them try to see how long the other will go before wallowing back. The antes are upped and lines are crossed and both of them begin to realize maybe they really can't go on together. They each have moral support from friends and family (who they don't listen to) and all involved seem to think that they should just talk it out.
There is a moment near the end when I thought that maybe it would have a conventional Hollywood ending (thus becoming the worst romantic-comedy ever), but the writers decided to continue down the slippery slope and conclude this story of a crumbling relationship the only way it could. One redeeming aspect of the film is that there are a couple of scenes between Vaughn and Jon Favreau that are hilarious, seeing them together again made me remember how much I enjoyed Swingers. If you still want to see it, go right ahead, but please don't watch it with a date.


I just want to blog on the web all day

I've been pretty busy at work the last few weeks, plus my netflix subscription ran out so I haven't had much time or topics to post about. But never fear dear reader, I will be making a concerted effort to get back into the swing of updating regularly again soon enough. Since my last post I've seen The Illusionist, The Departed and Employee Of The Month. One was surprisingly good, one was disappointing, and the last was just as good as I had expected it to be.
Being October and all, I've been in a scary movie mood so be prepared for a list or two featuring scary movies/moments in the upcoming weeks. While we're on the subject of lists, here's one that I enjoyed. Bullz-eye.com made up a list of best musical moments in film, excluding musical scores and songs written directly for a film. It's a very good list and they have video clips of most the moments featured, that's at least an hour of your day wasted right there.
In other horror news, there is a rumor of a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds with Naomi Watts starring. Bad... idea. I think the original is just fine, though the link provided makes a good argument for a remake, I feel that Hitchcock films are untouchable, so leave them alone.

That's all for now, this weekend I'm going to see The Prestige and if I'm lucky The Nightmare before Christmas in 3-D.


The Departed review

It's shameful that I haven't posted about The Departed yet, considering how big of a fan I am of Martin Scorsese. Most critics are exclaiming that Marty's back, that we have a new American crime classic on our hands, and how good it is that Scorsese is doing a gangster movie again. All that is nice and all but it sounds a little insulting to me, didn't those people like The Aviator? (nominated for 11 Oscars in 2004) Wasn't Scorsese supposed to win best director that year finally? (he didn't) Scorsese is a great director no matter what he does, however I don't think that this film is up to par with some of his previous efforts. Some people are even saying it's his best film since Goodfellas, this may be true but I don't think this film is half the movie Goodfellas is.
Here's my problem: I really like the Chinese-made original, Infernal Affairs. Too much so apparently because I kept comparing the two films in my head while watching The Departed; I didn't want to but I couldn't help it. The Departed is a good movie but the story had lots of little things added to each story that worked fine in the original and when you add it all up you get an even more complicated story, more characters to keep track of, and on top of that you have to make sure that your stars have enough screen time.
Now I know they cut some of Jack Nicholson's scenes, but this movie could have been a little shorter or it could have focused more on the cat and mouse game and less on unnecessary additions to the plot. What's hard about my complaints about the movie is that, the three characters that got more screen time than needed were all really good. Vera Farmiga, Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg all turned in great and funny performances but they took away from the main theme of the duality found in good and bad guys. By the way, Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio were fantastic as the moles trying to root each other out. I want to see DiCaprio up for Best Actor this year, he nailed it.
Overall the film was pretty good and if you haven't seen Infernal Affairs you'll love it. It is violent but it's spread out until the end. A small complaint though: I'm sick of seeing digital gore and I am very sad that Scorsese of all people employed the use of it. When people start getting shot at the end of a movie I want it to look real (i.e. use blood packs and on set sparks) don't paint it in digitally in post-production. So there's what I think of the film, go see it and judge for yourself.

The Illusionist review

So a while ago I saw The Illusionist and I never got around to writing about it. Before seeing it, the film was just that other magician movie that didn't look as good as The Prestige (a film I will be quick to see this weekend). Now that I've seen it, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised. The Illusionist stars Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, and Jessica Biel and is directed by Neil Burger.
Norton plays the title character of Eisenheim the Illusionist who may or not have supernatural powers. He uses that mystery to his advantage when he attempts to take down the crown prince in Vienna at the turn of the 19th century. There's a little bit of politics and a little of romance, served with a large order of mystery and twists. Norton and Giamatti are the standouts here, Giamatti is especially on his game and he seems to channel Claude Rains in Casablanca. Biel is just fine in her role as childhood sweetheart to Eisenheim and political tool to the crown prince. The camerawork and lighting are top notch and creates a very convincing century-old vibe to the film via a use of sepia tones and iris-ins and outs.
Edward Norton once again reminds me that he is one of our better actors working today (somehow I forget that fact when I don't see him something for a while). If you haven't seen The Illusionist, do so before the marketing machine behind The Prestige makes you forget about it.