Movies

Maleficent & Mini-Hot Dogs

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on me – shirt: kennington man. sunglasses: toms
on her – dress: stone cold fox. boots: bc footwear.

Delicious, delectable…mini-hot dogs.

Steph got invited to the IMAX Maleficent Exclusive Beauty event last night and I got the coveted plus one spot.

The event was put on by MAC cosmetics and crowded by beauty bloggers. We, or rather I, don’t really know the beauty blogger scene because we normally don’t run in that circle. Steph is a fashion blogger, but she does love her beauty products…and she definitely loves MAC. She exclaimed to me tonight that her post about MAC Ruby Woo lipstick is like a top Google image search. High-five!

What did I love about this event? Bellinis and mini-corn dogs. This was a beauty event, so who would have thought there would be mini-hot dogs?!? Macarons (staple at blogger events), cheese / meat spread, some tomato stuff, lemon curd boats and cupcakes. We feasted like kings and queens on finger-sized bites.

There was also MAC demo where two models were made up to look like Maleficent and Aurora, respectively. I would say that they both looked exactly like the characters in the movie, but I’m not the one to trust for make-up critiques. Oh, and we got to see Maleficent. Steph gives two thumbs up, and I agree that if you are a fairy or a princess, you will indeed love this movie.

Thanks boo for taking me with you! Make sure to check out Maleficent in theaters on May 30!

 

 

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Les Miserables: I Dreamed a Dream of a Private Screening

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And then I woke up and that’s exactly where I was…at 6:30 am.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend to be an expert on musicals. They’re simply not my steez. While I have at various times in life found myself roped into sitting through some song and dance, I had always turned a blind eye to Les Mis. It is called “The Miserable” after all. Not that I went out of my way to avoid it, but a story of a bunch of dirty French children begging for bread and singing about the Revolution didn’t seem to motivate me to the theater.  Luckily the promise of getting to see Les Miserables before anyone else (I enjoy gloating), followed by a Q&A session with the all-star cast, was enough to motivate me awake, again at 6:30am.

The movie was a wonder. If you want to know what happened…too bad, as I’m not spoiling any of the magic. While lengthy, the action, drama and comedy at times kept me awake without the need of caffeine. The music was powerful and very rarely did it slow enough to cause my eyelids to fight being awake. If you go see Les Miserables on Christmas day you will not be disappointed.

The real jewel here was the Q&A session following the screening with Director Tom Hooper, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried and Eddie Redmayne. The cast was graciously authentic in their compliments of each other as they recounted preparing for their roles. There were many interesting stories shared that morning, from Hugh’s stolen bike wheel which led to a 20-block trek through Manhattan to make his audition, to Eddie Redmayne’s lying to Director Tom Hooper about knowing how to ride a horse and how it came back to bite him in the ass seven years later.

The single greatest thing gleaned from the conversation came from a man who smartly asked Hooper about his decision to do live singing instead of dub-track performances, which are the usual standard of Hollywood cinema. Without spoiling anything, let’s just say these live performances will blow the thoughts right out of your mind. When certain people sing certain songs (that are cherished like the national treasures they are) tears will stream down your face. There is nothing like the pure emotion that comes through their eyes, their expressions, that you simply can’t dub in.

The cinematic production of Les Miserables is a triumph. For those who think it is blasphemy to go from stage to screen, you will not be disappointed.

I hope you run to your nearest theater next week, and I can’t wait to hear what you all think!

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The Dark Knight Rises…and Then Falls: A Review You Can Hate Me For

Dark Knight Rises was easily the most anticipated movie of 2012, and one of the hottest topics of this week due to the tragedy in Colorado. The epic banked $249M over the weekend largely due to the cult-like following of  Batman and Christopher Nolanites across the United States, such as myself.

I decided in lieu of getting ostracized by my friends and family, and you my readers for my initial reaction to the film, to give it a couple days to sink in before I shared my opinion on the film.

When I go back now and imagine how I felt after walking out of the theater, this is the only image that comes to mind:

Was it that bad? Yes, it was indeed that bad. I was Ralphie and this was my pink bunny pajamas on Christmas morning.

*I should now warn you of spoilers.*

I am a Batman fan and yes, I did crouch over the comics in the 90s as a pimply-faced teen, imagining myself as this masked crusader for the greater good. So I am slightly biased here in my review.

Like you, I LOVED Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Both movies were true to the gritty details of a filthy and corrupt city like Gotham, and to the tormented soul of their liberator, Batman. The supporting cast of characters was trim, well defined and mastered by the actors who portrayed Rachel Dawes, The Joker, Commissioner Gordon and so on. Both movies were cohesive and very much earned the title of “epic.”

The Dark Knight Rises was none of those things.

Gotham went from being a world of its own in the first two movies to being a sloppy mash-up of London, Nottingham, Glasgow, Los Angeles, New York City, New Jersey, and Pittsburgh. Each city was blatantly shown without cover-up. When I saw Freedom Tower in NYC or the One Wilshire building down the street from where I live my skin couldn’t help but crawl with annoyance. Nolan’s decision to forgo clean-up of the scenery basically removed me from the universe he so carefully crafted in parts one and two of the Batman Trilogy.

Christian Bale as Batman was the same, no grips there. The supporting cast though was weak, desperate and unorganized. I’ve heard some call The Dark Knight Rises “Inception 2,” and they would be right.

Instead of having a focused cast where the viewer has time to get to know and appreciate each character Nolon opts to invite all his friends to the party. Each non-essential character suffers from lax introduction, lax definition and terrible character-arc wrap-ups. I think Marion Cotillard is an incredible actress and sexy as hell, but her character and her relationship to the story was one of the most sloppy forced inclusions I’ve ever seen in film. I can’t even think of another movie to relate such poor character development to outside New Year’s Eve.

Oh and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robin? Come on now, I had no idea that was coming until the last 5 seconds of the movie. Please say no. Please. Don’t even get me started on Cat-woman.

Bane is what really messed me up about The Dark Knight Rises. Dude is the MAIN VILLIAN, and he’s about as scary as Will Ferrell in Elf. Nolon’s disregard of Bane’s power and presence truly made my blood boil. Bane was one of my absolute FAVORITE characters in the Batman universe, and here his role is given to a built, but undersized Tom Hardy (Inception alum), and his voice-over made him sound like and English dandy. Does anyone else agree with me here? His voice over was RIDICULOUS!

How can you take the drugged-up-intellectual-ninja-trained powerhouse that BROKE BATMAN’S BACK and make him into a silly mousekateer? Even the cartoon Bane was scarier than Nolon’s incarnation.

Boiling. Christopher Nolon, you disgraced one of my favorite villains of all time. Disgraced.

Overall I give The Dark Knight Rises and F…minus. Poor story line, poor plot development, poor character development of an over-crowded cast and poor attention to mythology and universe as constructed by the scenery. There were so many things that just irked me and let me down as someone who truly appreciated the first two films and the Batman as a story.

This was my pink bunny suit on Christmas, when all I’ve been waiting for in the last four years is a red rider BB gun.

Think, what if Peter Jackson had taken a vacation and let Michael Bay do The Return of the King? That is The Dark Knight Rises.

Love me or hate me, I’m  just telling it like it is.

– Cougar

PS…for those of you who don’t get the pink bunny/BB gun reference look up A Christmas Story.

New York is the place to go if you want to do theater. But if you want to be in film and television, move to LA.

Jenna Fischer of The Office

Most people yearn for something exceptional. Something so inspiring that they’d want to risk everything for that passion, but few would act on it. It’s very powerful. It’s intoxicating to want to be around someone so…alive.

Adaptation

Zero Budget? Funded by Passion – Angelus Student Film Festival Recap

Author’s Note: Once you get past my pretense you’ll see why I LOVED this evening. Skip to Read More for links and recap.

Since moving to LA (one week ago) my hope of becoming cheap had inspired me to check out the Craigslist Free Ads. From a poor student’s tip I saw an invitation for FREE tickets to a LA Film Fest. I love movies. I mean I really love good movies, and this event was to be held at the Director’s Guild of America, so this was impossible to pass up. 

Once reserving my tickets I got a confirmation email saying I was going to the Angelus Student Film Festival. I am was pretty excited about this as one of my favorite things in life is seeing new talent on the rise. But, this may also be why the friends I invited to come along all dropped out at the last minute. Perhaps.

In this world of LA I’ve adopted the motto, “If its free, its me,” and as I said before I love a good movie. So I went…and I loved.

Let me just say that the talent showcased at was INCREDIBLE. The stories were touching and uplifting. The characters were authentic. The cinematography, editing, etc. were phenomenonal. With zero budget what these students were able to achieve was nothing short of magic. Their passion was infectious. I felt like I had won a ticket to the Oscars screening, sitting center stage and watching each of the next seven tales unfold.

Click Images for Links to Trailers.

The Lighthouse – Winner, Best Animation.

A heartfelt and somewhat humorous tale of a father’s love and care for his son, and their relationship as he grows into a man. I got a little sniffly on this one. Unbelievably beautiful score.

Teamwork – Winner, Director’s Choice.

This story was a perfect illustration of how crossculturally how amazing our grandmother’s are. A wide range of emotions from love to regret and pain. This story about finally letting go with beautifully excuted. Bummed I can’t find at least a trailer to share for this one.

Love Hacking – Winner, Best Documentary.

This was one of my favorites as many times it had the audience dying with laughter. Documentaries that are well executed can show a truly amazing story and because they (hopefully) follow the subject with little to no direction you never know what will happen next.

Thief – Winner, “Triump” Award.

My favorite. The Writer/Director, Julian Higgins, takes us back to 1959 Iraq to tell the story of how Saddam Hussein was captured in 2003. The authenticity of the film is probably what was most striking. I believe the movie was shot here in SoCal and Julian’s team recreated the home in the movie from old 1959 images of Iraq found in the Los Angeles Library archives. This is a must see!

Raju – Winner, Excellence in Film Making.

The story of a German couple trying to make their family whole by adopting an Indian boy. This was a emotionally challenging and heartbreaking short that dealt with the topic of illegal adoption of stolen children. A real topic portrayed with so much range it really sucks you in. Very easy to tell why this was the overall winner. Bravo!