Sunday, January 27, 2008

Marlena Diamond

Just saw Cloverfield tonight. I have to say that I really enjoyed it, despite the huge drop in its second week earnings. (It can be expected for movies to drop 40 to 50%, which is pretty bad, but from some accounts, Cloverfield dropped in the 60% range.)

Cloverfield is definitely your popcorn, super-action type of movie, but it's not the glossy over-produced type like Transformers. This is mainly due to the guerrilla style that it's shot in a la Blair Witch. But at the same time it does have great production values. If you combine the effects with the hand held style of shooting, you really feel as if New York is being attacked by some monster. Also, since the first twenty minutes or so of the movie is dedicated to building up the setting and characters, you feel a connection with some of them. While there is very little character development (understandably because it's supposed to be from the point of view of a guy who was filming while in the thick of things), there is enough to enjoy the being with the characters. I liked the character of Hud the most. He was the one filming the action, and he surprisingly provided the comic relief part of the movie.

If you even think about making movies at all, it's so interesting to see how J.J. Abrams fit in the necessary criteria that makes a movie, especially in this documentary style format. Just feeling the flow of things-- it's supposed to be recovered footage, but it thankfully still feels like a movie, or else there would be no movie to enjoy. There are ups and downs, appropriate pauses so that you can take it all in. Sure, you have to suspend your beliefs many times for the sake of enjoying the movie (how long does the battery last?), but it is a science-fiction movie after all. Maybe it's because I analyzed the movie making aspect of Cloverfield, but I really enjoyed the devices employed in this movie. You can see the product tie-ins and, you will see, even the clever way they got to show the back-story of some characters (involves old footage left in the camera while they were taping the current monster problem). It really is impressive to think that the makers of Cloverfield could create a movie that is in hand-held footage and still give you a movie experience. It's pulled off better than The Blair Witch Project (probably not too hard of a feat).

Cloverfield is highly recommended for fans who love going to the movies. I can't believe it has made me excited for Star Trek (J.J. Abrams next project). J.J. and Cloverfield is that good.

By the way, since this is Lips Like Asukal, I have to talk about a girl. While Cloverfield has no big-name stars (although I do know two actors, one of whom is from my sadly-cancelled The Black Donnellys), I have to mention Lizzy Caplan. You may know her from Mean Girls as Lohan's friend who was friends with that gay dude. Lizzy looks really good in Cloverfield. It would not be fair to call her an almost crush of mine, because I've always found her attractive even back in Mean Girls (when she was supposed to be the "ugly" friend). She also plays a sarcastic girl in Cloverfield, probably ups her hotness in it.

Love those eyes.

Date Material

I know readers may think I may possibly be a chauvinist because of all the rebel yells of "she could get it!", but in reality I'm really the antithesis. Do not get me wrong. Some people can attest that I am a fully red-blooded American male. So it makes sense when I tell you that I do like to indulge in proclamations about the current cutie in my mind. Maybe in the future I will refrain from getting too racy (I don't think I have been too bad though).

But this post is dedicated to one of the most attractive girls I've seen in a while: Kristen Bell. I'm too lazy to see if I've excessively carried on about her in other posts, but I think I have spoken about her in some length. Of course you may know that I am a huge fan of the tv show Veronica Mars of which Bell is known for. It's possible that I may just be attracted to the character she plays (Veronica Mars), but there are photographs of Kristen that show that she may have some of that sass that Mars has. I'd like to say she's cute like a button but how asexual can you get? But that's not to say that when I see pictures of Kristen Bell that I immediately devolve into having carnal fantasies. Actually I probably never had an impure thought about her (Sorry to the straight male population). There are few girls in show biz that I would consider being date-able, but Bell is one of them (Even off the top of my head I can't think of the other girls I would put on that list, which is saying something).

Anyway that's my rant on Kristen Bell. This post was mostly a product of me surfing a questionable gossip site that showed that particular photograph of Ms. Bell (with the scarf/hat). I wonder if someone could put their two cents and tell me whether they think she has make-up on in this photograph? She probably does and it's just put on very well. These type of candid photographs are much better gauge of cuteness than those fake photoshopped (pixelmated) pictures of people. Yeah I think she looks really good. Plus, me being a short guy, it's not a bad thing that she's short as well.

My only wish is that my image of her doesn't get shattered. I hope she doesn't go all Hollywood and become tabloid fodder.

C'mon, camouflage has never looked this cute.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Take This Sinking Boat

If someone recommended a movie but told you that 60% of the movie was music and the movie part of the movie constituted the minority, would you have even given the movie a second thought? I'm glad that I usually don't get any movie recommendations so no one scared me away from Once. Yes, this is a musical, but the music is intertwined with the movie so much so that there would be no movie without the music. Once is about a heart-broken man who meets a woman and, by chance, she motivates him to work on his music. They develop a chemistry, but he's still getting over an ex while the girl has a husband. The music in this movie is intertwined in a manner atypical of musicals in that the music does not interrupt the story. The music and the story are they same beast and grow together. Nobody breaks into song in front of the audience. It's difficult to illustrate, but the music adds tremendously to the story. Had I heard the music somewhere else, I don't think I would have loved it as much as when I heard it in the movie. And I don't think the story would have been as good without the music. The guy and the girl compose the music together and you can see their relationship develop at the same time. I'm also a sucker for love stories where not everyone gets what they want but they are still optimistic about life and move on. So there is a story to this movie.

The people who play the guy and the girl are very talented. They are not actors, but they are acting and you wouldn't know it. They are even better musicians. I'm a little inspired to continue working on the guitar again. There is one thing though: you may not enjoy this movie as much if you are not into "rock" music. Other than that, I highly recommend Once. Both the story and the sound will move parts of your emotion unexpectedly. Hopefully you will remember the story and love its music even after the credits roll.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Summer, I Will Buy You a Garden

Last night was the first of the two part premiere of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which is a new television series based on the Terminator movies. Before anyone says, "Oh, but the third movie was horrible and they're also making a fourth", people must understand that the producers of Chronicles are basically resetting the Terminator time line and pretending as if the third movie never happened. That should ease the disdain of many Terminator fans.

Now I do not confess to be a Terminator fanatic, but I did enjoy the second movie at least the parts I remembered. But, with the writer strike screwing up the television schedule (no new episodes of any fall shows and no 24 !) I needed a show to attach to. Enter The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Let me just say, so far, from the first episode, I can get used to the series. I can not promise I will stick with it, but the Terminator story line was always a strong one: robots take over the future and kill off most of humanity, but the robot from the future comes to the past to protect the savior of mankind. So you see, there is some time traveling involved that even comes to play in the first episode.

The acting does not scream awesome to me as the acting in Lost does, but can I say something? What is up with television and hot, relatively young mothers. I don't mean mothers in the slang sense (yo, mothahuggaz) but in the birth-giving sense. Sarah Connor, the mother of John, is good-looking. And if you like pretty people, you have to see my renewed favorite: Cameron, the new terminator, played by Firefly's Summer Glau. Oh, how I miss Firefly. However, I am a little upset that Summer has to play another not so human role. I guess it gives her an excuse to look hot and expressionless, but I can see myself getting tired of that face soon if she doesn't become a human-acting robot. Or is it the other way around?

Just as a tangent, my perverse geek side is thinking about steamy robot to human loving. Hey, if Battlestar Galactica can get away with it, why not robots from the future. Plus she's Summer Glau, the all powerful River Tam.

One thing I hope for that's not too perverse is that the series focuses on story a little more than the action. Whereas Heroes this season had a horrible story and almost no action (where's the teleport battle!), Chronicles' first episode pretty much had the robots destroy everything and everywhere. Good action, but it can get old. They have good material to work with, what with the future robots, the resistance, and skynet's creation. I can envision the lore of science-fiction combined with the intense pace of 24, but without any terrorists and a little less explosions.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles, with a little more tweaking, can be a promising scripted show in what is to be a spring season deluged in crappy reality a.k.a. crapality shows (ya, fired).

Plus, Summer Glau is the bomb, not just because she's gorgeous, but because people need to represent for the Firefly Alumni.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Movie Was Almost Legend

In many ways, I was pleasantly surprised by I am Legend. Had I seen this movie the weekend it was released in December, I am sure that my review of it would be much more glowing. But, since I waited for a slow January Saturday afternoon, I believe I saw Legend with eyes that were clear from the hype.

One thing you should know about me is that I am a huge fan of blockbusters. I think the best movie season is during the summer time. But these huge type of movies can also be found during the holiday season, and I am Legend is one of those movies. Loosely based on a novel by Richard Matheson, Legend is about the last man on earth who survives a viral outbreak because he is immune. Everyone else who is infected have become zombie-like creatures who can only come out at night because their skin cannot stand the sun. The last man, Robert Neville, was in a way responsible for the outbreak and has to find a cure while he is still alive.

I say that I was pleasantly surprised because, though I love blockbuster movies, the hype of these type of movies is what usually draws people to them. Since I saw this after most of the hype and marketing has died down, I realized that Legend might just be a special FX-fest that lacks any story. Plus the original source material (the novel) is probably way better. (Note: I plan on reading this book.) But as I watched this movie, the part of me that enjoys suspense and zombie movies had a ball. Legend has some genuinely suspenseful moments-- the type of moments where the whole theater is quiet as Neville sneaks around the zombies. So this was a good thing. Plus, if you're a little squeamish of scenes of utter gore and violence, be not afraid: this movie is almost totally bloodless. I think the only blood I remember seeing was from Neville taking blood in a laboratory.

I must say, though, that Will Smith was in top form for I am Legend. This is a big deal for me because, since I've never seen him in Ali or the Pursuit of Happyness, this was the first time I really felt true emotion from him. Usually he's playing the tough and funny role in a movie, but this time he played the emotionally and physically isolated human. I really felt that he was all alone and his suffering through his lack of human contact. By the way, Will Smith is diesel.

If there is one fault with this movie, and it's a pretty significant problem, it's that towards the end of this movie, the main character's motivation and emotion changes. I will not spoil anything for you. But the movie was rushed towards the end. It's probably understandable since the ending was changed very close to the release of this movie. I guess the first ending didn't agree with fans in the screenings. I would love to see this alternative ending and maybe it may make this movie even better.

Of course this movie was better than Spiderman 3 (horrible) but it's not quite in the caliber of Spiderman 2 or Batman Begins. Cannot wait for Iron Man or The Dark Knight. Ooo Wee!