Monthly Archives: November 2010

A Star Is Born

I watched this movie last night and I really only have a few things to say about it.

Judy Garland is amazing–her voice absolutely astounds me and I’ve been singing “The Man Who Got Away” for the past 24 hours and probably will be singing it for the next week as well. She will always be amazing.

The movie is about three hours long in it’s restored version and this is TOO LONG. People, that is Lord Of the Rings long. Remember that movie? Remember how the only reason we could get through it really was because of the intense fight scenes, the neverending plot introductions, Orlando Bloom and Viggo Mortensen? (mostly those two at the end…). Well, this movie doesn’t have that. It’s SO bloated, and can retain it’s weight.

It is a very sad story, and it’s worth watching because it is a classic, but it’s almost not worth watching because of the weight. The performances are very good (James Mason is also exceptional, he just, you know, doesn’t sing), but by the end you kind of want to yell, CAN YOU PLEASE JUST DIE ALREADY SO I CAN MOVE ON WITH MY LIFE?! There are a bunch of scenes that could’ve been cut, including the singing numbers (which of course were added because of Garland).

This is not really a review, but overall: Great performances, good story, much much MUCH too long.

Just a quick movie nerd thing: there are SO many Singin’ In The Rain instances in this film. If you ever watch it, make sure to watch the very beginning and how it’s incredibly similar to the very opening of Rain. Also, one of Garland’s dance numbers has her going to a variety of agents and them saying no to her as a new talent, which is EXACTLY what happens in the long, dramatic dance scene with Gene Kelley at the end of Rain. In addition, at one point, Mason says “I’m fit as a fiddle and ready for love”, which is, guess what?! A SONG IN RAIN! So, in case you’re a nerd like me, decide to watch this film and get a little bored with it’s length, watch out for those because it’ll entertain you throughout the second hour.

 

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Burlesque

Last night I ventured out into the movie world with my sister for some stupid but fun entertainment. With those requirements, we were led to a showing of the film Burlesque.

The movie was just as we expected it to be. To be honest, it was better than I thought since I had been reading so much negative press about it. Starring Christina Aguilera, Cher, Stanley Tucci and Kristen Bell, it’s the story of a girl wanting to be a dancer in a club named Burlesque, ending up becoming a singing star there. My recommendation for the whole film? Cut out the talking. Aguilera is a fantastic singer–the dance numbers are great and really fun, but throughout the beginning when she’s not singing and the parts when they actually feel the need to bother you with dialogue it’s a nightmare. Every once in a while Stanley Tucci comes out and says a few lines and you go, oh! there’s the good actor! Otherwise, it’s horrible.

It was good silly fun though–the costumes are flashy, the music is loud, and reality is suspended, well, a lot. It’s good for a night out in which you don’t want to think, cry, or show emotion. Aguilera’s voice is absolutely incredible and her songs are terrific. Cher’s voice is a little shot, or at least not what it used to be, and in comparison to Aguilera’s, which is full, strong and unparalleled, it sounds weak and empty. Her two performances aren’t great, which may be due more to the songs than to her actual singing.

While we’re waiting for the rest of the Holiday movies to come out, it’s a good interlude, but since The King’s Speech and Black Swan are soon to be released I would recommend maybe saving your cash for those.

Overall: Fun dancing and singing, but would have been better as a prolonged music video instead of a full blown movie.

Rating: 2/5 stars

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Holiday Movie Season

Finally, the post I have been talking about!! Of course I will get to the actual movies, but just a quick little plug for my marching band: http://www.wickedlocal.com/needham/news/lifestyle/x1617321173/Needham-High-School-marching-band-set-to-perform-on-Thanksgiving-Day. Go read 🙂

Alright, NOW on to the movies:

Burlesque: I’m not really sure about this one. Starring Christinia Agueliria and Cher, it could be either be a fun fluff movie filled with some great music, singing and dancing, or a movie that takes itself far too seriously and completely flops. Preview here!

Love and Other Drugs: So far, the reviews haven’t been great. I’m going to try to not go off of reviews for this thing and just say how it looked in the previews because I think it’s more fun that way. I love Jake but I’m not such a huge fan of Anne. Overall, I AM a fan of the rom com, but again not sure about this. I haven’t seen a good rom com in awhile, so it’ll be risky but worth seeing. Preview here!

The King’s Speech: Huge fan of Colin Firth and many are saying this could be his Oscar year. Helena Bonham Carter also stars. Definitely one to check out if you’re in the mood for something serious and Oscar-like (which we all know means a little artsy, a little preachy [sometimes] and always very serious). It actually looks kind of funny, and I think that there should be a great balance between serious and humor. This is a personal must-see. Preview here!

Black Swan: I have read some reviews of this too weirdly since it doesn’t come out until December 1st, and I’m not sure what to think. The ad looks interesting–a combo between a fairy tale and a nightmare. Natalie Portman is usually great, and it’s definitely artsy if you’re in the mood for again, something Oscar-y, then this is the movie for you. Preview here!

How Do You Know: The ads for this one haven’t been great, but Paul Rudd is hilarious, Reese Witherspoon can be good (although sometimes I find her a tad annoying), Owen Wilson is also funny, and Jack Nicholson is classic. This is a rom com that I’ll definitely be heading out to see (maybe more com than rom…). Preview here!

Tangled: I know, I know, I’m five. But I do generally enjoy cartoons. This one, to be honest, looks a little repulsive and I’m not sure that I’ll go see it, considering there are so many other ones out there, but it’s kind of a cute idea so if you have some young ones I’d say yes. Preview here!

The Fighter: Every one who grows up in working-class Boston, grows up, makes a movie ABOUT working-class Boston and it’s their best film (coughBENAFFLECKcough). So here’s Mark Wahlbergs! Being from Boston it’s always kind of fun though. All I have to say about that one. Oh, and Christian Bale is in it too. Solid. Preview here!

Of course, there are considerably more movies coming out in the upcoming months, and lots more beyond that. These are just kind of the ones that have been in the spotlight and also a few of the ones that I plan on seeing. For me, The King’s Speech, Black Swan, and Love and Other Drugs are ones that if not definitely plan on seeing than are just generally on my list. What movies are you guys heading out to see this holiday season?

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What I’m Diggin’…

I haven’t done one of these in a while and I thought I would. I’m gonna do an upcoming movies post soon for the upcoming Winter season, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. So this first.

Thanksgiving: My town, Needham, has the longest running football rivalry with the neighboring town Wellesley. The football is held on Thanksgiving, and this is the 123rd annual game. As the drum major of the marching band, this game is basically what our entire season builds up to. I’m so incredibly excited and so incredibly sad at the same time. As a senior, this will be my last year in the band, and my last time conducting the half time show. I have enjoyed it so much and can’t wait for it because it’s going to be fantastic! Oh yeah, and I really like turkey too.

Senior Year: Almost no homework, missing class every other day for things like cap and gown fittings and pep rally videos? I think YES! This year has been fantastic so far and I hope it continues along those lines.

My Mac: While I have been vehemently opposed to macs in the past I’ve seen how idiotic that is and I love my new computer. So much.

Birthday: On the 17th I turned 18, and who doesn’t love birthdays?? In addition to going to Cabot’s (local ice cream joint) with the band, I went to Grill 23 with my family and a few of my best friends. It was a fantastic time and I hope they know how much I appreciate them celebrating it.

The Virgin Suicides: I’m currently reading this novel by Jeffrey Eugenides and have absolutely fallen in love. I highly recommend it, and I hope to move on to Middlesex as soon as I’m finished this one.

Watching…30 Rock, House, Lie to Me ૐ Reading…The Virgin Suicides, The Blind Assassin, Flappers ૐ Listening…Florence in the Machine, Mumford & Sons, Sara Barielles ૐ Eatingnothing as usual, I’m allergic to all foods on the planet, mostly Starbucks drinks  ૐ Wishing…that the guy I like so desperately would show some sign of actually liking me back  ૐ Loving…soups, seltzer, having free time, Thanksgiving break ૐ Anticipating… mostly holiday season movies! but that has to wait for the next post :]

So there you have it. That’s my life right now I suppose. I’m hoping my next post will be soon and actually about movies–haha.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Okay, so I don’t really want to do a formal review of Harry Potter because it’s Harry Potter. So there’s your reasoning for going to see it. But I’ll do some bullet points and comments.

I think this is the best HP movie so far–and I’m not just saying that. The cinematography is absolutely fantastic. It scares the shit of you, but also makes you cry. From the very beginning until the very end I was sitting at the end of my chair, waiting. I even knew what was going to happen and it was still just as exciting and riveting as when I read the book.

The acting has gotten so much better from past movies. I am very anti-Daniel Radcliffe (in the books Harry has this great sense of humor and is actually funny and likeable while in the movies he comes off as an idiot asshole who is too stiff and serious) but I actually didn’t mind him in this. Emma Watson is fantastic as always, and so is Rupert Grint. All the adults are always amazing. The Malfoy family is a particular favorite of mine–they all do such a great job portraying the pathetic, weak and frightened nature of each character. Another of my absolute favorites: Ralph Fiennes. I have become overwhelmingly obsessed with this brilliant actor. In real life, he looks like this:

Let’s be real here, he’s absolutely gorgeous. In the movies, he looks like this:

Okay, so not gorgeous, but absolutely fantastic. The way that Fiennes plays Voldemort is brilliant. His very soothing, soft, calm voice makes him that much more frightening when he does something evil. I also always pictured Voldemort that way–although he is the dark lord, he is a brilliant wizard, and an incredibly intelligent man, especially to have done what he has with his followers, etc. I was worried that whoever took on the role would behave like a raving lunatic, angry and violent, but Fiennes does it perfectly: calm, thoughtful, brilliant and ever so frightening. I watched Schindler’s List not but a week ago, and although I had seen Fiennes in the HP movies, and also in various other random roles (The Reader, The Constant Gardener) I had never seen him in such a role, and he did it brilliantly. So, new actor obsession? I think you can guess.

So I think those are all of my comments. It’s brilliant and you should definitely go see it right now. Also, you shouldn’t see it if you haven’t read the books because that is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

Also, if you’re on twitter, I recommend following @lord_voldemort7. I don’t know who he is, but he’s absolutely HYSTERICAL. And if you’re in the mood, you should follow me!! @mskatrinagray. Hope to see you folks there 🙂

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To my band…

I hope that everyone in the band can understand everything that I do. I apologize if it’s ever misconstrued or misunderstood. I’m sorry about everything. That’s all.

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I want to be a Virginia.

Tuesday and Wednesday the Dresden Dolls were in Boston and in their second performance (both of which I went to), they read the response to Virginia O’Hanlon in the New York Sun when she asked if there was a Santa Claus. Every year for Christmas my mom used to read this letter, but I sadly had forgotten about it. With this new reading, I was duly inspired. This letter is not just a response to the existence of Santa Claus, not simply a Christmas themed letter, but something extraordinarily beautiful. I consider it one of the best things ever written in the history of the world. My response to it is in embodied in a college supplement I wrote the other night, and I simply had to share it.

 

Never again will I doubt the existence of magic. On September 21st, 1897, a little girl, named Virginia, questioned the existence not only of Santa Claus, but of belief and all that it holds. I wish to be a Virginia. As Francis Church so dutifully responds, the world without Virginia’s would be dreary, would be incomprehensible and unbearable. I believe this is so, and never again will I doubt that inside of everyone is a Virginia. Even those most skeptic believe in magic—whether it be fairies dancing on a lawn in the morning dew, or perhaps the ingenuity and harmonies of Beethoven, or maybe indeed simply the beauty that a single poppy can hold in the right sunlight. All of these things, whether real or imaginary are magic. And who is to say there is a “real”? If something is believed, it is real. As Carl Jung says,  if there is no one to believe there is no existence. So what if we stopped believing in gravity? In water? In ourselves? All of these things would become as imaginary as love or beauty or peace. So as a Virginia I will turn my back on hatred, I refuse to believe in ignorance and suffering with the hope that these will one day also be imaginary if we all cease to believe. But never again will I doubt the existence of Santa Claus, and never will I turn away from hope.

 

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