Month: April 2014

Why Mean Girls Matters: A Fan Manifesto

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Director: Mark Waters
Screenplay: Tina Fey
Cast:  Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lizzy Caplan, Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jonathan Bennett, Daniel Franzese

Mean Girls…How do we begin to explain Mean Girls? In all its flawlessness, it needs no validation: it is the quintessential high school movie; the queen bee, if you must. And if you don’t know it, you’ve been living under a rock, or homeschooled by your research zoologist parents while spending your formative years in Africa. The wisecracks (say crack again? CRACK) has punched our hearts for 10 years now, and it’s still awesome.

Yes. Yes it is.

Yes. Yes it is.

And yes, I’ve packed 5 movie references in that first paragraph, and I’m unrepentant about it.

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Reading Transcendence’s virtual (dis)reality

Director: Wally Pfister
Screenplay: Jack Paglen
Cast: Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy, Cole Hauser, and Paul Bettany

A science-fiction film starring Johnny Depp (and also [the] Morgan Freeman) with Christopher Nolan as executive producer and a script included in the 2012 edition of The Black List (which, by the way, is a list of the best unproduced scripts handpicked by film executives) would have definitely sounded brilliant and full of potential. However, we all come to realize that once in a while, even blockbuster elements lead to lackluster results. Transcendence had it all, or so we thought.

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Game of Thrones recap: The White Walkers return

After last week’s controversy, Game of Thrones returned this week with a more toned-down episode that is bereft of any apology or remorse for how badly it treated one of its characters.

But for the sake of recapping the show (and for that purpose alone), let us bury the hatchet for just a second and talk about what happened this week in the cruel realm we love to hate.

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Wes Anderson’s grandest film yet: Reviewing The Grand Budapest Hotel

Director: Wes Anderson
Screenplay: Wes Anderson
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson, Tony Revolori, Léa Seydoux

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I remember seeing the music video of Vampire Weekend’s Oxford Comma for the first time and thinking that it was reminiscent of the Wes Anderson aesthetic – the chapters, the way the camera pans from one scene to another for the entire duration of the video, and even the preppy outfits. The message of the song was revealed in the manner by which Wes Anderson would have told an audience of the story of one of his films; perhaps Wes Anderson’s quirky visuals and alternate realities are not just what constitute his approach to filmmaking, but something that has been established as a distinct brand of storytelling. But in The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson takes this aesthetic to a whole new level, without sparing the plot of the movie from the revolutionary grandeur he took in his stride.

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Game of Thrones recap: Postmortem

In some ways, it’s pointless to debate how a hugely successful TV series deviated from its resource material. A franchise so widely accepted such as Game of Thrones would be watched and would be reviewed, would be gif-ed and meme-d regardless of whether the fans of the book dished their stamp of approval. Nonetheless, there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

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Ferris Buller’s Day Off is a YOLO film for the ages

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Director: John Hughes
Screenplay: John Hughes
Cast: Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara, Alan Ruck, Jeffrey Jones, Jennifer Grey

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The 1986 hit teen film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off proves that contrary to popular belief, our generation did not create the You Only Live Once consciousness, or simply YOLO as we fondly call it nowadays. Truth is, ‘80s people are doing YOLO before YOLO was actually cool.

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Game of Thrones recap: A (purplish) wedding and a funeral

Those who have read the A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) books know that King Joffrey Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell’s nuptial, or the Purple Wedding as it is fondly called by fans, will be one of this season’s highlights. Honestly, I was expecting to see it during the fourth or fifth episode because after the said wedding, the showrunners are left with only few materials to work with for this season. Remember that this season of Game of Thrones is based just on the second half of ASOIAF’s third book and not on its fourth (the fourth and fifth books, I believe, will be told in seasons five and six).

The Purple Wedding being shown in the second episode is tantamount to HBO declaring that there are a lot more to expect this year. So to my fellow fans, we better be prepared for what’s in store for us in the remaining eight episodes.

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And here goes the recap:

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The sideshows steal the act in Rio 2

Directed by: Carlos Saldanha
Screenplay by: Don Rhymer, Carlos Saldanha
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Jamie Foxx, Andy Garcia, Leslie Mann, Jemaine Clement, Rodrigo Santoro, Jake T. Austin, Amandla Stenberg, Kristin Chenoweth, Bruno Mars.

There are film sequels and then there are film sequels. There are movies that are part of a continuity – inevitable chapters that rightfully exist; there are movies that exist because film-making is a profitable business, and exploiting the lowest common denominator will surely bring home the money shot, including milking a story that’s already been bought and sold. It’s contemptible, indeed; it’s a tragic hollywood affair. Rio 2 is certainly far from that. After all, we’re only at round 2, while Rocky knocked out at 8. The lack of originality is forgivable, but it’s brazen borrowing of cliche is almost disappointing.

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The story itself is lackluster. It was Adam Sandler’s Meet The Parents meets Disney’s Tarzan, only it’s in 3D and Elton John wasn’t singing. Rio 2 got a bird version of Bruno Mars instead, starring as blue macaw Jewel’s (played by Anne Hathaway) childhood friend. Apparently, Jewel and Blu’s (Jesse Eisenberg) brood of birds aren’t the only remaining blue macaws on the planet, and they embarked on a mission to find the rest of the flock. (more…)

10 Things About “10 Things I Hate About You” That I Absolutely Love

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Director: Gil Junger
Screenplay: Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, based on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew
Starring: Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Larisa Oleynik, Larry Miller, Andrew Keegan, Gabrielle Union, David Krumholtz, and Susan May Pratt

What do you get when you cross 16th-century literature with all the fuzz, cliques, and whirling complexity that is high school? Well, we got a film that gave an upbeat treatment to a literary gem, “10 Things I Hate About You” (1999). We have to admit that fifteen years later, we still doth loveth thy flick (I had a hard time composing that), and let us count the ways:

1.  It’s a modern retelling of a Shakespeare classic.

The film is actually based on one of William Shakespeare’s great comedies, The Taming of the Shrew — the shrew being Katarina “Kat” Stratford (played by Julia Stiles; based on Katerina Minola, the titular shrew from the play), a headstrong, opinionated, and unpopular student at Padua (yes, it’s the setting of the original play) High School. On the other hand, her younger sister, Bianca (played by Larisa Oleynik; based on, surprise, Bianca Minola) is hot, popular, and eagerly wants to date. Following their father’s rule that Bianca would be allowed to date only if Kat is in a relationship, Cameron (Jospeh Gordon-Levitt), who wants to date Bianca, invites Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) into a plan — date and “tame” Kat in order for Cameron to date Bianca (Cameron and Patrick are based on the characters of Lucentio and Petruchio, respectively).

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Game of Thrones recap: Arya gets her revenge in the season 4 premiere

The much-hyped fourth season of Game of Thrones is finally here. With legions of fans all over the world, it’s easily the most popular television show at present. But how did the season 4 premiere fare?

Well it didn’t disappoint.

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The episode opened with a two-minute recap of what has happened in the show so far. Well the recap is more like an obituary featuring the show’s most brutal scenes including Ned Starks’ beheading at Balor, the Red Wedding (duh?!) and that time when Jamie’s right hand was cut off.

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