Wednesday, September 17, 2014

If I Stay (2014)

“Isn't it amazing how life is one thing and then, in an instant it becomes something else. Like here I am, Mia, the girl who thinks about the cello and Adam, and whether I get a stupid letter or not, and just like that...”

Four years ago I studied abroad in London for a month. It was the first time I was ever away from home for so long and the first time I was in a foreign country. I missed my family terribly I kept thinking about them and all the things each one would have liked to have seen and done. One day I was in the Imperial War Museum (one of the absolute best museums I have ever been to. Definitely go if you can) and my friend were walking through the Holocaust section. It was the first time I had ever seen anything related to the tragedy. The one part I will absolutely never forget for the rest of my life was hearing an interview of a survivor. The survivor was a woman and she said at the time when she was taken to a camp she had been separated from her brothers and father. Her mother was with her. She went on to say that if she had to she could possibly imagine life without her father and brothers but she could never imagine living life without her mother. After hearing this I got so choked up. I missed my mom the most and I even missed my dad even though he drives me up a wall. I missed my three younger brothers too mostly because I knew they would have been having a ball in London. That part of the interview hit me right in the gut. I could never imagine my life without my family no matter how we may argue or grate each other’s nerves we still love each other unconditionally. I remember going back to my room that night and emailing my mom about the interview. I nearly cried writing that email.  
Now you might be thinking what does a line from an interview with a Holocaust survivor have to do with the new movie If I Stay. It has everything to do the main character’s struggle of wanting to let go and wanting to live.
Mia Hall (Chloe Grace Moretz) comes from a family who loves her unconditionally. Her parents, Denny and Kat (Mireille Enos), are very into music especially rock music. Mia on the other hand loves classical music and plays the cello extremely well. She loves her parents but she is in no way like them and feels like the odd duck out.
School is canceled one day due to snow. Denny and Kat convince Mia to come out with them to spend some time together. With some bribery and guilt tripping from her parents and her younger brother, Mia agrees to go. Unfortunately tragedy befalls the family when their car is struck head on by a truck on the icy, snowy roads.
Mia is now left in limbo. She can see and hear everything that is happening around her. Her physical body is taken to the hospital where she is operated on for hours. A nurse tells her on the operating table that her whole fight, whether she survives or not, is up to her. Mia now has to choose to live or not. She thinks over her life with her parents and her brother and how her world will be nothing without them. She especially thinks about Adam, her boyfriend and the love of her life. Mia has to think now that there is no one there for her besides her grandparents if being alive just for Adam and to go to Juilliard to play her cello will be enough.
I must confess I only went to see If I Stay to see Mireille Enos. A few weeks ago I saw Chloe Grace Moretz on Live with Kelly and Michael and the clip that was shown for If I Stay was one with her and Enos. I loved the scene. I got super excited to Enos because I thought she was incredible in the TV show The Killing. After seeing Enos in If I Stay I think I like her even more. I was not expecting to see her in a role like Kat Hall, this rock chick who was all carefree, after watching her be so serious in The Killing. Two of her scenes were my favorite of the entire movie. Enos was fantastic. Moretz just killed her role she was amazing. The girl can only get bigger and bigger she has such a great talent for acting. I have seen her in several other movies (she will always be the little girl from the Amityville Horror remake to me) and this was my favorite of hers.
If I Stay was completely heartbreaking yet excellent. The entire cast was perfect. The story was good. I was not thrilled that Mia chose to live for a boy but  for her Adam was her true love and someone that was so important she wanted to live for. Right now in my life I only have my family that I would want to live for. That was my point with the interview from the Holocaust survivor from the Imperial War Museum. I could never live without my parents and my brothers. I wanted to and still want to cry just thinking if, God forbid, anything like what happened to Mia ever happened to me and my family. I know I would never be able to get over their loss and I would feel such pain and ache and want for them every day. But I know they would have all wanted me to move on and live my life. I know they would always be with me and watch over me and love from wherever they had gone to.
I absolutely recommend seeing If I Stay. It is such a good gut wrenching emotional story with great acting. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Silent Sundays: The Perils of Pauline: A Watery Doom (1914)

“Save me Henry! I’m afraid!”

            In this sixth episode of The Perils of Pauline entitled A Watery Doom…
            Koerner enlists the help of some local gypsies to help get rid of Pauline so he can have her fortune. The lead gypsy brings Koerner into a building and tells him Pauline will be placed in a basement where water will come through a wall they will blow out with dynamite. Koerner laments that Harry, Pauline’s fiancé always comes to her rescue and ruins everything.
            Pauline and Harry have just returned from a drive. A call comes through for Harry that one of his plants is on fire and he must hurry down. The caller was one of the gypsies.
Pauline goes with Harry just as Koerner planed.
            On the way down to the plant their car is stopped by the gypsies and both of them are dragged out of the car and tied up. Of course almost as soon as the bad guys put Harry and 
Pauline in what should be their demise, the couple managed to become untied. They cannot get out through the door above them since the gypsies have blocked it with furniture.
            Soon water begins to gush in. Pauline and Harry are unable to stop the flow and the room quickly fills with water and even worse, rats. Harry finds that they can climb up the chimney. When they are on the rooftop the gypsies see them and begin to shoot and chase after them.
            Back at the house, Koerner began to celebrate his success and wealth. He fired all the help. Before the help could leave Pauline and Harry come home. When Koerner sees the couple alive he runs out of the house terrified.
            A Watery Doom is back on form with the suspense and the action compared to the episode before this. Harry is the hero in this episode leaving Pauline with nothing really to do. Still, The Perils of Pauline, was of course, entertaining and enjoyable. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Arthur Newman (2012)

Have you ever wished you can up and leave the life you are living and start a new one with a different name, a different outlook on life, and a different personality? I think we all have wished that at some point. I definitely wish I could. I would want to be someone stronger who is not so emotional and attached. I would want to be like the character Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine who is like this total bad ass who could melt your soul with one look. I would mostly want to just live my live. I feel like I have not lived that for all of my twenty-six years on earth I have been afraid to let go and just do things. I have always felt stuck and it is killing me to no end.
Arthur Newman takes two people from two completely different backgrounds and brings them together through their want to be someone they are not.
Wallace Avery (Colin Firth) feels stuck in his life. He is a manager of a Fed Ex with a girlfriend who kind of likes him but just puts up with him for the most part and a son who does not even want to speak to him. Wallace buys a new identity and decides to fake his own death. He tells his girlfriend that he is going on a camping trip that will end with him on the beach. On the beach Wallace throws a few beers around, takes off his socks and shoes, and leaves his wallet in one of his shoes.
Wallace takes off on the road as his new identity Arthur J. Newman. In one town he drives through he sees a group of cops have blocked off part of the road. They are trying to get a young woman (Emily Blunt) out of a car she has stolen. Arthur does not think anything of it until he sees the girl at the same motel he is staying at. She is sitting incoherently on a chair beside the pool. Arthur sees something is not right with her at all and takes her to the hospital. Trying to get her checked in he finds her ID and finds her name is Michaela and she snaps back that she wants to be called Mike. Sometime later a doctor tells Arthur that Mike overdosed on cough syrup with codeine and needed her stomach pumped.
The following day Arthur waits for Mike so he can give her a ride. He did not want her to go along with him but they get to know each other. They find out they are both trying to run away from their responsibilities and from being who they originally were.
Colin Firth and Emily Blunt were great together. Their roles were corky for them or at least they seemed so to me. Arthur and Mike were darker roles for Firth and Blunt than I am used to seeing them in. Both Blunt and Firth did a fantastic job with their characters. They were both so uncomfortable and unhappy with themselves that they make you feel kind of uncomfortable watching them. I like those kinds of characters and they only really work if the acting is good.
      Arthur Newman was a good movie. I remember wanting to see it when it was originally released. I had no clue what it was about but I just wanted to see it because I really like Emily Blunt. She did not disappoint and neither did Colin Firth. The story did not disappoint either. It was unlike most movies that are released today. The characters were not very likeable and the story ended in a not so typical way. I like untypical endings very much. I liked how this showed that running away and becoming some else is not all it is cracked up to be, there is no real happily ever after. Arthur Newman is a movie I suggest seeing

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Silent Sundays: The Perils of Pauline: The Deadly Turning (1914)

In this exciting episode of The Perils of Pauline entitled Deadly Turning our heroine Pauline Marvin (Pearl White) has entered herself into an auto race. She has not told anyone she entered. Pauline tells Harry and her guardian Koener when a letter arrived to inform her that she has been accepted into the race.
            Koener sees this as another excellent opportunity to get rid of Pauline so he can take her money from her inheritance. He goes to another one of his many associates for help in his quest. This associate he threatens most likely because Koener knows something he did and does not want word to get out. Koener tells this associate to take his car (Koener’s) in the race and when they come around a bend he is to get close enough to Pauline to make her go over the edge. Koener has yet another associate throw something on the road when Pauline comes to a certain spot to make her crash.
            During the race the associate who was supposed to be throwing things on the road is caught and chased away. And the other associate did not manage to get Pauline to go over the edge. Pauline safely wins the race.
            The Deadly Turn is short running just under ten minutes. There was no time to really feel any excitement or to get into the story. Even though she did not do anything significant in this film Pauline Marvin is still a great film character. Here is a woman in 1917 entering an auto race. What a daredevil!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Vow (2012)

How do you look at the woman you love, and tell yourself that it’s time to walk away?

            I just sat through an almost two hour chick flick. I do know why I put myself through this but that will be revealed in a bit. The last good chick flick I remember really liking and still like today despite its silly story is 27 Dresses (and if you hate this movie we cannot be friends. Sorry). I will be the first to admit I am not a sappy romantic girl. I like to be thought of as a cold hearted bitch when it comes to love. I am sure it is down to the fact that I have never really been in love and that I do not know what it means to truly love someone. I do understand the emotion of love and would not mind experiencing that emotion someday. I just really do not have the patience for anyone else but me at the moment. I am not a typical girl who dreams about having the perfect life. Honestly what I dream about at the moment is finishing grad school, getting a real job, moving out on my own, and marathoning the shit out TV shows and also being utterly devoted to this blog again (screw you grad school for sucking up my time!!).
            With movies I like stories, I like the unexpected. I do not like the typical. Chick flicks are all the same to me: guy and girl meet each other by chance, they fall in love, something bad happens, they have to repair their relationship despite all the obstacles thrown at them, and they fall happily in love all over again. Oh and their friends or family are always there for them as sound boards and for encouragement and support. What a boring story and incredibly boring one-dimensional characters. But there is a quote and unfortunately for the life of me I cannot remember who said it but it goes like this “All good stories are love stories.” Yeah, if they are Gone With the Wind or Casablanca. Classic movies could get away with romantic schmaltz and sometimes even they twist my insides with agony a bit. It kills me that typical chick flicks like The Vow are still so popular today. I understand most audiences want mind numbing, don’t-have-to-think movies they just want to be entertained. Sometimes I want to watch mind numbing, don’t-have-to-think movies or shows. One of my favorite TV shows is Bob’s Burgers for crying out loud! 
            Maybe I do not like chick flicks because I am cynical and stubborn and give up to easily. Although, I always rooted for the guy and girl to overcome their differences and get back together. I guess maybe I can be a little romantic and like typical endings…. NOOOOO!!!!
            Anyway, enough of my ranting about chick flicks and my awful views on love.
            The Vow is about Leo (Channing Tatum) and Paige Collins (Rachel McAdams). They were very happily married and in love with each other until they were in a car accident. Leo had the car parked. He was still in his seatbelt but Paige was not. A truck hit them from behind and Paige went through the windshield. She suffered a severe brain injury where she does not remember her life before the crash. She does not remember Leo at all. Her parents who she has not seen in years come to the hospital after finding out about their daughter weeks later. They are happy they have their “old” Paige back the one who was going to law school not the one who up and left and went to art school.
            Leo does everything he can to get Paige back into his life. He tries despite all obstacles thrown at him.
            Now I know you know the ending and do not need me to tell you. Well I will tell you that Paige never does regain her memory of being married to Leo.
            The acting was not too bad. I think Rachel McAdams is so talented and I feel terrible that she is so type casted in these chick flick roles now. Channing Tatum to me is a just a piece of hot flesh to fill up the screen and look pretty. 
            Alright so here is the reveal as to why I watched the movie: Tatiana Maslany. Not ashamed to say she is my current girl crush. When I was looking up her other work besides Orphan Black I saw that she was in The Vow. I was watching an episode of Orphan Black at my uncle’s house. It was a scene in the show where she was playing Rachel Duncan who is as far removed from looking like Maslany does in the movie. My cousin said to me “that girl looks familiar”. My cousin is one of those people that reads Nicholas Sparks books and all she has in her small movie collection is chick flicks. I knew right away that she had seen The Vow. After that there was no way I could have my cousin see a Tatiana Maslany movie that I have not seen! Seriously, Maslany is such an amazing actress that I will watch anything she is in as evidenced by my sitting through this stinker. She played Lily who was Leo’s soundboard and voice of encouragement. She showed more emotion than McAdams and Tatum combined in her few scenes. She was fantastic in two scenes: the first was when Lily and Leo are sitting outside drinking coffee and trying to figure out ways to make Paige remember him. He mentioned she liked to be tickled to help her relax. Maslany’s face of judgment was very funny. The next was when Leo is at the end of his ropes and realizes there may not be hope for them after all. The girl was brilliant. You can tell on her face that Lily was truly sad for her friend and cared for him. It is incredible to think that she was in a movie like this (by "this" I mean a mainstream Hollywood movie. She was in mostly independents up to this point) where she was just a second string character used only as a soundboard and no one knew who she was at all. Now she is all over the place with Orphan Black and it was considered (still is considered) an outrage she was not nominated for an Emmy. Maslany got the part of the clones a year after this movie. (if you have not watched Orphan Black stop reading this right now, stop watching any other series you may be into at the moment and watch the damn show! Tatiana Maslany does in twenty episodes with all the different characters she plays what has taken Meryl Streep forty years to accomplish with playing so many different types of characters).

Maslany as Rachel Duncan on Orphan Black
            Watching The Vow was like having my teeth pulled except it was not over fast and I did not have any medication for the pain of its bad acting and crappy story. There were some points that I liked. I liked how the guy never gave up even when he felt he had to. He never lost his faith he would be back with the true love of his life. Agh, there I go again talking like a romantic girl! And I also liked their studio apartment or whatever it was they lived in. I got really excited over seeing art books and the awesome shelving they had. Honestly unless you are a diehard Tatiana Maslany fan and are trying to get through the incredibly hard and emotionally draining Orphan Black hiatus do not even brother sitting through The Vow (or unless you really really like romantic movies). Oh, the movies I will watch just to see my favorite actors/actresses in!