2013 Written and directed by Spike Jonze
Life is a fraud. Her brings us the tale of a man who falls in love with his computer operating system. But it’s more than some weirdo making out with his iPod, Her is a rare film that explores the modern increase in social isolation and loneliness that no one talks about. Spike Jonze brings his brand of exploring humanity to the near future to look at the state of relationships today, and layers everything with a mix of genuine and hoax that transcends the real.
Theodore Twombly is a lonely writer, recently divorced from his wife, though he’s never signed the papers to finalize it. Theodore’s job has him composing personal letters to people from other people, advertised as handwritten but actually printed by a machine. The entire enterprise is a fake personalization and fake product. Theodore has written for some of the clients for so long he knows their quirks and puts touches in the letters that reference other letters. In essence he has a pseudo-personal relationship with these people, despite never really meeting them or having any contact outside of instructions from work. It isn’t a real relationship, he’s just given access to enough of their relationship to craft a forgery.
Honestly, I am personally horrified at the concept of handwritten letters created by a third party. The entire concept is a whole new layer of deceit and lack of genuine personal connection. I’d be insulted if I was given a letter through that company. Theodore is more connected to the people he writes about than they are to each other, and than he is to anyone else except his friend Amy. Continue reading →
2013 Written by Eric Singer and David O. Russell
Directed by David O. Russell
A swindling couple are forced by the FBI to assist in going after bigger game, but the operation to take down corrupt government officials spirals out of control as it becomes a mystery on who is conning who. American Hustle is filled with great performances that are among the most realistic and complicated characters of the year. It’s a shame they’re trapped in the plot of an hour long USA Channel original program! Heck, the characters even use the word “leverage” multiple times, and Leverage is among my favorite of those shows (it also features criminals who swindle criminals, though it aired on TNT!) Sure, sure, the film’s all loosely based on ABSCAM, but the real reason to watch American Hustle are the performances, not the crime story.
Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) is a street kid who learned at a young age that everyone was out to take everyone, and set out to get his own, even if it meant doing things outside the book. He graduated from smashing windows to drum up his dad’s glass business to loan scams, offering money to desperate people and pocketing the deposit as he disappears. Even his appearance is a huge cong, with one of the most complicated comb-overs in history. He falls in love with Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), a woman of the world who is one of the few that has the same cultured interests (such as jazz). She takes to his scams and soon the pair are running through the clients. Despite being careful, they don’t stay entirely off the radar, and are soon set up by FBI Agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso is trying to make a name of himself at the FBI, much to the chagrin of his supervisor Stoddard Thorsen (Louis C.K.), who advocates a more cautious and nonflamboyant approach to bringing down criminals. In exchange for leniency, Rosenfeld and Prosser must now help DiMaso go after bigger game, corrupt politicians and businessmen.
Jeremy Renner is literally unrecognizable as Mayor Carmine Polito, he’s as Jersey as you can be without having dated someone from Jersey Shore. Polito is a heartfelt good guy who is trying his darnedest to revitalize New Jersey and bring in casinos for jobs and money. Unfortunately he does so via methods that are extralegal at best, which makes him a target of DiMaso. Continue reading →
One more parody trailer to celebrate the DVD release! Finally, something about The Hunger Games that I’m actually interested in…besides popcorn at the movie theater! It will be so satisfying watching children kill each other for food while eating lots of food. Take that, soon to be dead kids in a post-apocalyptic dystopia!
Muppet Hunger Games image via redbubble – you can get it on a shirt!
2011 Directed by James Bobin
Written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller
After a far-too-long absence at the theater (I remember going to see Muppets From Space in a deserted theater like it was yesterday…), the Muppets return to the big screen in a big way. And as you can guess from the mention of seeing Muppets From Space, I’m a huge Muppets fan. Enough that I can rattle off obscure background Muppets and spot errors on the Muppet wiki. But I’m putting the fanboy aside to give a nice objective review. And that review is positive. Not because I liked the film (I did), but because it’s a good film.
The Muppets are more than just puppets, just entertainment for kids. The Muppets are entertainment for all ages, treating the audience of all ages with respect and dignity. They may not have invented that kind of entertainment, but they rode it to a new plateau. Jim Henson was never afraid to tread new ground, always experimenting and improving, wanting to put out quality products that appealed to everyone.
As for the Pixar short before it – most of the jokes seem to be just the concepts of the fast food toy characters rather than actual story. But it is funny and does deal with abandonment issued and support groups. And some of those toys look like they come from neat fake franchises. I should just design fake Happy Meal toys as a hobby…
It’s time to start the music…
Gary (Jason Segel) – Our hero from Smalltown who loves his brother and also the lovely Mary. His attempts to please both of them cannot continue forever.
Mary (Amy Adams) – Gary’s long-suffering girl who has been waiting for him to propose for a decade now.
Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) – Evil oil baron who will buy the Muppet studios and tear it down to get oil. Spends most of the film trying to sabotage the plans to save the studio. And rapping.
Walter (Peter Linz) – Gary’s brother who was born a Muppet. Becomes obsessed with the Muppets and their number one fan. And begins the crusade to reunite them and save their theater from Tex Richman. As fun as Walter is to follow, I’m not sure he has what it takes to be an iconic Muppet. But when there’s a sequel they can probably come up with something cool to do with him.
Kermit (Steve Whitmire) – Our Muppet leader who realizes that the gang has dispersed and must go and get everyone back together to save the day again.
Miss Piggy (Eric Jacobson) – Kermit and Miss Piggy have gone their separate ways, largely due to her gracious forcing of issues vs. Kermit’s low-key attempts to keep everything together. She is now a high-profile fashion editor at Vogue. But true love cannot be defeated, even between a pig and a frog on two different continents.