Film: La La Land

Like everyone, I loved this movie, and I’m not a fan of musicals (except Sound of Music)! I believe the film was loved for obvious reasons: 1) Ryan Gosling: a male character who is handsome and flawed/helpless. I don’t think he’s very handsome, but as my husband would say, he is a “stud”, 2) Jazz, piano, orchestral music, (and dancing): drama and all the emotions, 3) Struggling artists: so L.A., so relatable, 4) L.A.: a romanticized city, 5) some not-so-over-the-top comical scenes: Ryan’s 80s ensemble, his Christmas music performance, his “biting of the lips” (haha!), and 6) the ending: something to which everyone can relate-the one with whom it didn’t work out. Emma Stone was great, but I think her voice needed to be louder (more powerful), and for some reason, I couldn’t get it out of my head that she looked like Michael Jackson. Okay, that has nothing to do with the movie, but the closeup scenes were a bit funny/uncomfortable for me, especially during her solo performance (“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)”). Maybe the director could have zoomed out a bit and filmed Emma walking through the streets of Paris (next to the Seine)/L.A. while singing. Just a thought. I loved the song, though.

My sister and I often joke about writing a book, song, or screenplay, and what we realize over and over again is, in order to be successful, one has to create something people will obviously love, like the above 6 reasons.

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Film: What if (2013)

whatif Daniel Radcliffe plays a med school drop-out named Wallace. Zoe Kazan plays an über hipster illustrator/animator named Chantry (the name itself!).  He’s alone, she’s in a relationship, and she just wants to be friends. Yes, we know how this film will end. (The happy kind of ending).

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Though the plot is cliché, the film makes up for it with unrealistic witty banter and humorous scenes. I love Wallace’s character–he’s sincere and sentimental. I don’t love Chantry’s character, but I do love her job and outfits, which makes her more tolerable. My favorite scene is when Wallace gets invited to dinner at Chantry and her boyfriend’s place. Her boyfriend accidentally rubs his eyes while dicing jalapeños and starts to scream in pain. Wallace, being a former med school student, suggests using saline solution and runs to the bathroom. He’s in a hurry to deliver the saline and the boyfriend is in a hurry to get it. Wallace ends up whacking the boyfriend out the apartment window while coming out of the bathroom. Luckily the boyfriend is  alive and later everyone ends up riding the ambulance singing “O Holy Night.”  So random and funny.

I would watch this film more than once, therefore I give it two thumbs up.

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(all images from IMDb)

Food, Friends, & Film

“All the diversity, all the charm, and all the beauty of life are made up of light and shade” (Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina). I try to capture this through my camera, but for Tolstoy who can do this through words, I admire him greatly. For those who like theater, Russian literature, British actors, whimsical characters, and dark plots, all-in-one or one-or-the-other, I recommend watching Anna Karenina. And if you have spare time and like to read, I recommend reading the novel beforehand. The film will catch you by surprise.

Here are some photos from yesterday’s excursion:
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Tangled

Another pleasant surprise in the mail.  When my sister said she watched Tangled in theaters, I scoffed at such ridiculousness. Because I thought Tangled was going to be like The Princess and the Frog — which I also didn’t watch because of its ridiculousness. (Can you tell I’m very judgmental? keke).

Anyway, I was surprised at how many people were saying Tangled was a good movie. Coming from adults. of the male gender, no less.

After trying to avoid watching the film by pushing it further and further away from the “Next” on my Netflix queue, I finally received it in the mail today.  And… I liked it! I loved Maximus the white stallion and the little frog. I mean, chameleon. So cute.

Though I’m not a fan of fairy tales (because of their creepy nature),  there’s something about the fairyland that draws my attention.  I like the idea of living in a kingdom with little roads and little shops and little roads that lead to where the castle lies above, and an enchanting lake in the middle of town, where people can ride their little boats and light their lanterns into the night sky.  Now that’s a kind of date that’ll make me really happy. ;) (where can I find such a town?)

But yes. I liked Tangled. And yes, I’m very behind in grading my last batch of papers. But yes, there’s hope. Because… because……. next Thursday, all will be over and I will be free to dream of my own castles in the air.

Film: Almost Famous

After watching so many underwhelming films (Source Code, Water for Elephants, Limitless, My Neighbor Totoro, Pirate Radio), Almost Famous came through Netflix as a pleasant surprise.  The cover made it seem like the main character of the film would be Kate Hudson, but the film is actually about a 16 yr old boy (named William Miller) and his naïve exposure to the rock ‘n’ roll realm.  I enjoyed the film’s 70s vibe with yellowish hues and bold prints, Jason Lee (as Jeff Bebe) rockin’ his bell-bottom jeans and long hair and beard, Zooey Deschanel’s early quirkiness, France McDormand’s atypical mother role and her mantra, “Don’t do drugs!”, (I’d like to be that unabashed), one of the last scenes in the airplane where everyone confesses everything because they think they’re going to die — hilarious, Billy Cudrup playing Russell Hammond, who is always in the spotlight, always, and Jeff’s hatred (as the lead vocalist) toward Russell (one of the guitarists), which sheds light on how every band has a cute one who receives all the attention and the rest of the members who remain blurred and unknown, hidden in the cute one’s shadows — so sad, but so true.  I liked this film mainly because of William Miller’s innocent account of finding his inspiration in the midst of musical chaos, human flaws, and unrequited love.  It’s raw and honest, and well cast.

Favorite quote: “One day, you’ll be cool.”

Two thumbs up.

Next on my Netflix queue: Tangled.