Paranormal Activity - 5 stars- Uh... This movie scared the bejesus out of me. Why did I decide to watch this in the middle of the night? How does my vintage apartment know exactly when to settle, throwing open my wardrobe doors? How do my neighbors know to exit the loud and cranky gates of our shared courtyard whenever a door opens on screen? Freaked. Me. Out. PS- I like the original ending, but understand why they choose what they did. Nerd Fact #2056: They (i.e. bad idea makers) are working on a sequel they plan to ruin much the same way they ruined "Saw"- by not using the original writer/director. In a funny turn- The director will be "Saw V" director David Hackl which PA beat at the box office. What a bunch of losers.
My Sister's Keeper - 3 stars- This movie was well made if you consider the source material. The novel is written in a series of interior monologues and shared memories. Not easy stuff for a feature length film to do! The hoopla about the ending (they changed it) when the movie came out is unjustified. This new uplifting ending works just as well, although it does paint the protagonist (an 11-year old girl) in a selfish and morally ambiguous light. It reminded me of books I read when I was younger by Lurlene McDaniel (a lot of organ donation, terminal illness, etc.). The other problem with adapting this book is that it's pretty long, however I'm not sure I would have missed certain things if I hadn't read the book prior.
Ghosts of Girlfriend's Past- 4 stars- No, that is not a typo. I watched this with the folks and we all laughed several times and thought it was adorable. Sure, it's another McConaughey man-child with obvious lady problems movie, but the supporting cast (particularly Jennifer Garner and Emma Stone) are excellent. The writing is clever, and at about 90 minutes, it's just long enough. Basically, the perfect guilty pleasure movie.
Spring Breakdown- 1 star- I should have known! Netflix tried to warn me (our best guest for Graygrrl... 1.5 stars), but I didn't listen. I couldn't- it has Parker Posey! This was one of the stupidest, infantile (in a bad way), poorly written movie I've ever seen. No wonder it never got a theatrical release. *BARF*
Taking Woodstock- 3 stars- This movie would have gotten 4 stars if it didn't drag on and on (and yes, I realize it's an Ang Lee venture and that's par for the course). Once it got going, the story of a sleepy town in upstate New York with the run down summer motel complete with half crazed immigrant owners and their closeted son, really illustrated the beauty of the concert that forever changed a generation and the world of music. Demitri Martin (stand up extraordinaire) makes a decent narrative film debut, though slightly stunted in all the wrong areas. As a comedian, his timing is good but the pauses he takes between line readings (which work when he's playing guitar on stage and singing about pterodactyls) doesn't quite work here. The supporting cast is great though, especially an unattractive Liev Schreiber dressed in drag (so wrong and so right. PS- is that what he's really packing? Way to go Naomi!). I recommend to those who love Lee's previous English language work, are fans of drugs, orgies, or late 60's rock.
I've Loved You So Long- 5 stars- This Golden Globe best foreign language nominee and BAFTA winner stars Kristen Scott Thomas as a woman just released from prison who moves in with her estranged sister and her family. Thomas is utterly breathtaking in her plainness and perfect French. The key to the film lies in the crime she committed- murder, but of who and why? (I have to say, I figured it out a bit early, but was still riveted to see how it would/if it would, be revealed to others) I love, love, loved this movie. It's a French ode to early '00s Independent American Film making. A must for everyone.
[side note: Dear Netflix Users- If you are still holding on to a copy of "Four Christmas'" please return. It's the end of January. If you haven't watched it yet, you're not going to! That is all.]