Monday, April 12, 2010

Alice in (Computer-generated, poor script land)

Recently, I went to see Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. A film whose progress I have openly stalke
d during it's in-development stages up until the day before I went to see the film (thanks again, IMDB. I can alway
s count on you).

I will begin by saying how disappointed I am with Burton's rendition. And being a long-time Burton fan, it pains me to admit it but I feel I must explain

First, upon hearing of Burton taking on this project, I felt overcome with feelings of joy and utter excitement. I truly enjoy Burton's work (well, most of it considering I am about to bash this film) and he's a fantastic director. He has a vision and he truly knows how to execute it.

As I checked the IMDB page for this film almost daily, the excitemen
t built up increasingly so. Initially, I heard a somewhat unknown actress was to play Alice. I was thrilled, especially since it wasn't Lindsay Lohan, who so intently expressed her interest to the media in the role. Then again, why would I even worry that Burton would pick such a poor actress?

Anyway, as time went on, casting choices were made and as more and more incredible actors were added to the list, the more I began to hyperventilate over this film which I hadn't even seen yet. My ants-in-my-pants excitement reached a near peak when I heard Helena Bonham-Carter was cast as The Queen of Hearts (well, The Red Queen). I am a HUGE fan of hers and she's a brilliant actress and a beautiful woman.

At that point, I was pretty much so
ld. I checked to see who was writing the screenplay and it was Linda Woolverton. She's written for Disney animated films during their heyday; most notably The Lion King. I figured, "Alright, it's a Disney film and they got a Disney writer. Not bad." However, I'll get back to this shortly.

Then, I heard the characters would be CGI. Which I thought was good, considering the fact that a) we have the technology, might as well put it to good use and b) I'd rather have them be computer-generated characters instead of people dressed up and put in makeup (although I have to say, the 1999 Alice in Wonderland, starring Tina Majorino, was wonderful).

Anyway, next thing, photos are being released of the characters in costume and in CGI form and I'm getting even more excited.

Then, I hear that not only are the characters going to be CGI, but Wonderland itself was goin
g to be entirely made from pixels on a computer. Bummer.

Now, onto my review (sorry for bullshitting most of this post):

The film begins. It's a dark night and there's a little girl in bed having a nightmare. First of all, let me just say, why did they have to dip that poor child in a coat of white foundation and make it look like she was wearing a wig?! Honestly! That was just bad news from the start.

Next, we see Alice, all grown up and years (I think) after her father's passing. Here, at this moment, I realize Burton was pulling a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; he was giving Alice a reason to be so independent and filled with gumption. The fact that her father, the only person who understood her completely, had passed was the reason Alice had become so rebellious and against the rules of society. I mean, she wasn't toting a gun or anything, but she refused to wear her stockings and she refused to be thrown into an arranged marriage to an extremely creepy man. Anyway, Burton was putting his own twist on the story; giving Alice a reason to be the way she is, much like how he gave Willy Wonka a reason to be so strange and came to be the owner of a chocolate factory: he had "daddy issues."

I soon come to realize that the script was very dumbed down. I understand that the target audience for this film was children, but honestly, the script was pretty dull. I figured that they could at least speak with some sort of sophistication, much like Burton's characters in Sleepy Hollow. It wasn't Shakespearian English, but it wasn't a storybook to read to children at night. And neither was Carroll's story.

Mia Wasikowska was alright. She did the "gumption" bit fairly well and she was extremely beautiful.

Helena Bonham-Carter was great. She made me chuckle and I loved the fact that she wore the round sunglasses whilst playing croquet.

Crispin Glover didn't have the best British accent b
ut, to me, he's always sexy in that strange way.

Johnny Depp was wonderful as the one personality of the Mad Hatter. Being "mad", Burton gave the character a split-personality disorder. One personality was flighty, flamboyant, silly and had a lisp. The other was eager to be "down with the bloody Red Queen" and spoke in a Scottish accent, a mix of Jack Sparrow and John Barrie. The personality I liked best and wished he had been throughout the entire film was that of the flamboyant one.

Stephen Fry did some pretty great voice acting as the Cheshire Cat.

And of course, Alan Rickman did as well. Especially considering he put that damn sexy, velvety voice to good use.

I didn't really like The White Queen (Anne Hathaway) all too much. I mean, she was sweet and beautiful and kind, yet nothing really stuck out for me.

It's a shame because there were so many great actors in this film, yet nobody really shined; they all pretty much stayed on the same wavelength and I didn't like that at all.

I will give Burton credit for trying. Despite what I may have said on this post, I didn't hate the film. It was alright but not his best and not the actors' best either. It was okay, if anything. Perhaps I'd watch it again once or twice, but it really didn't click with me. Sorry, Tim.

Bonne nuit!

Scratch my last post. It should be changed to, "I am a poor excuse for a blogger."

I am a member of so many websites, I cannot keep track.

I've got my Facebook, my Xanga blog, my Tumblr...

I know, I know. I'm pretty lame. But I feel like I have a better personality when it's in writing.

Speaking of writing, perhaps I should stop writing "but" at the beginning of sentences. Even after constantly keeping the "however" tip on my mind whilst writing, I still mess up occasionally.

I figure I'll post something of some kind of importance soon. Perhaps right now...

See you next post, children.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I am a poor excuse for a person.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I haven't written for this blog lately because I've been in a total slump. I've had absolutely nothing interesting to write about. But, I've just thought of something in the past five minutes so I figure I can take it and semi-run with it. 

Sometimes admitting that you're wrong can be the healthiest thing in the world at the time you're doing it. I recently dropped my stubborn grudge and apologized to somebody who didn't deserve all of the animosity I was throwing their way. They instantly forgave me for my immature distaste for them in the past and that felt great. Just by pulling a simple "My Name Is Earl" move; minus the power of 'stache, of course. I felt great. It was like a huge, figurative cup of coffee without the caffeine-induced crash after consumption. 

In other news, I absolutely despise my job with every fiber of being. My boss is the world's biggest, for lack of a better word, tool. While I hold down the fort managing the cash register and the lottery machine, he sits in the back, behind the deli display on his laptop playing Farmville and chatting it up on the phone in his native language. But of course, when I go to sit down for a five-minute breather, I verbally get my head ripped off. However, since I'd like to have a good reference for when I finally leave, I have to yes him to death and kiss his ass. And anybody who knows me knows that me + ass kissing = an absolute no go. Alas, I'd like to find a more enjoyable job someday and I need the reference. 

Aside from the lack of happiness in my job and my abundance of good feelings in personal accomplishment (for now), I recently lost a friend and was replaced in a matter of a few days. It's strange how things work out and how different sides of the people you thought you knew begin to erupt from the deepest pits of their emotional complexes. Although I do not agree with the way this person is handling some of their feelings, I don't plan on returning the anger. My only plan is to move on and stop dwelling on the very teen-angsty scenario. 

On the music front, I purchased the New Moon soundtrack and, to my surprise, it turned out to be a great album with lots of great artists like Death Cab (their newest song is not as good as their older stuff. Same goes for the Killers, who also appear on the album), St. Vincent, Bon Iver, Thom Yorke and one of my personal favorites, Lykke Li, who's song "Possibility" is so soft, melancholy and utterly a treat to hear on the album. 

Aside from my obsession with soundtracks, I've got Arcade Fire's Funeral on loop as well as "Lost Coastlines" by Okkervil River and the soundtrack to Where the Wild Things Are. The track "Food Is Still Hot", which just consists of sweet hums by Karen O herself is my favorite song on the album. It's so sad, but it relaxes you and allows you to drift away almost. 

Oh yes, and I have a new Hollywood crush! (Which is nothing out of the ordinary)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Newest addition

I have another girl crush. She's an adorable actress who looks just like Jenny Lewis. Hello Carey Mulligan!

That is all. I'm off to read People's Celebrate the 70s special issue. I. Have. No. Life.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It takes longer to get there than it does to go back

Yesterday afternoon it was so beautiful out that some friends and I decided to go apple picking at an orchard in Warwick, New York. It was only a 40/45 minute drive and it was so beautiful, I didn't mind the lengthy journey. I must say, I really do love fall. It's not too hot, not too cold and everything looks so pretty right before it dies. 

Upon arrival, we discovered that there was a "minimum one bag per car" policy and each bag was $25. The bags were pretty small too. We ended up getting two bags for $50. Since us frugal young things were angry with the high price, we pulled the car up to the top of the hill, opened the trunk, and loaded up. We also decided to play some Apple Baseball, just for the hell of it. 

The orchard was beautiful and very, very quiet. From the very top of the hill, the view was beautiful. You could see for miles and it was so sunny. The perfect day almost. 

We ended up getting a lot of apples, most of which I don't remember the names of. The only one that stuck with me was Red Delicious because somebody in the group just had to have them.

We also found a giant green apple, which we proceeded to destroy by smashing it into a thousand pieces with a baseball bat. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Step out of the hoodie, sir; hands in the air.

I've been dying to write this for the past few days. It's going to be my rant on everyone's favorite little mumbler and word stumbler Michael Cera. 

As much as I do like some of the movies he's in, this kid is killing me. He's probably on the top ten list of "Most Typecast Actors". He is so unbelievably typecast, it drives me up the wall. And it always makes me wonder if the kid really has any range at all. Sure, maybe a little, but not much. I'm saying he's as a bad as that dunce Megan Fox, but he may just be doomed to the roles he's in now for the rest of his career (however long it may last). 

The first time I had ever seen this baby-faced teen string bean was in 2007's Superbad (going into how much I love that movie is for another entry). I had never seen Arrested Development, but I heard he was pretty much the same, shy teen in his role as Michael Bluth. I have to admit, I bought it. I thought, "Wow. This kid is cute, soft spoken and funny without even making an obnoxious effort." 

Sure enough, thousands upon thousands thought the same as I did and he eventually got more roles. Literally right after Superbad came Juno. Everybody's favorite little "indie gem" as I called it last blog. Sure, I loved the movie and I loved Cera. He still maintained that adorable yet bearable amount of innocence that I so liked in Evan from Superbad

Afterwards, in 2008, came Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, a movie adaption of one of my favorite cute little novels. It was the story of two people, lost and lonely and emotionally wrecked who find each other through mutual friends in a crazy night in New York City. After I saw Nick and Norah, I was excited because the adaption, although not exactly like the novel, was perfect. I thought it was a cute, quirky teen comedy (I'll probably be getting into depth on that genre soon enough as well). 

Despite my enjoyment and that serious case of the smiles that I got from seeing Nick and Norah, I started to notice a pattern: Michael Cera is totally and completely typecast. After seeing Year One, I was just about fed up with it. Because 1) Year One was an awful, awful excuse for a movie (sorry Harold Ramis, but it was not your best) and 2) Cera played the same fucking character as he did in Development, Superbad, Juno and Nick and Norah

Next up comes Youth In Revolt, which doesn't look too terrible because Cera takes on the challenge of becoming his character Nick Twisp's alter ego, a suave and debonair douchebag. However, judging from the trailer, he didn't strain his acting muscle too hard. 

I'm just going to be a smart ass and list all of the common and quite obvious similarities between Cera's characters (and plus, I like making lists. They're fun and organized, which creates the illusion that I am, in fact, organized):

1. Evan, Paulie, Nick, Oh and Nick Twisp all have something very much in common: "The Virginity Factor". In every single one of these films, Cera's character strives to lose his virginity (which is the cliche, yet realistic goal of every teenage boy whose libido is bigger than Kirstie Allie's "I quit Jenny Craig" ass). Evan spends the whole of Superbad trying to get Becca, the "love" of his life to try and notice him so that the two of them can make whoopie before he goes off to Dartmouth. In Juno, well, everybody knows what happened in Juno (sigh). In Nick and Norah, he's not a virgin, but he does end up engaging in sexual activity and he does indeed experience a weak moment in which he desires sexual activity, greatly, from his bitchy little ex-girlfriend. In Year One, his character called Oh spends the whole of the film trying to get with a little blondie from his "tribe" and ends up following her across the desert and trying to save her from imprisonment (Jeebus, I hated that movie). And judging by the trailer of Youth, Twisp spends the whole of the film trying to impress some babe he met in his trailer park by creating a "ladies man" alter ego to help him speed up the process of losing his virginity and all of that typical Cera shit. 

2. He stumbles, mumbles and stutters. Sure, it was cute at first, but quite frankly I'm damn annoyed with it now. I just wish he'd drop the "I'm so cute and you can't even tell I hit puberty yet" bullshit. 

3. He wears hoodies 24/7. Not that I have anything against hoodies, but in every afformentioned film, Cera wears one of those mass produced hoodies which he zippers up to his throat in an effort to appear trendy and cool and almost "hipster" (but that all depends on the fact that if his hoodies are or are not from American Apparel. Ha.) He also wears tight pants, like said cool kid. 

4. He's so fucking indie. Yeah, I said that.

5. He's always so lost. He's like a puppy that's been left home alone. He doesn't know how to get outside to pee and constantly has a hopeless expression on his face. Even when he tries to nervously laugh, he acts like his face couldn't possibly pull off a full smile. Almost as if it hurts to not be fucking angst-ridden and childish. 

In his next film called Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, he plays, I'm assuming, the same damn kid with another damn hoodie with another damn indie soundtrack (not that I'm bashing, but I hate the fact that everybody only started liking Kimya Dawson just because she was on the Juno soundtrack. Sigh!). His character, from what I read on IMDB (endorsement checks, now please and thank you), falls for a girl who has seven "evil" (but judging by the cast, "evil" meas muscular, attractive meathead) ex-boyfriends that he must ultimately defeat so that he can be with his crush in peace. 

I really just wish I knew if this kid had any range at all. If I found out now, I could stop feeling sorry for him and seeing all of his movies and just move on to admiring bigger and better talent.  

I mean sure, there are other actors that have been like him, but they were lucky enough to make it to "veteran" status. Like Will Ferrell. I mean, he has Stranger Than Fiction, so I really can't talk trash. And Vince Vaughn has Psycho and Domestic Disturbance

I happened upon a message board in which the commentators mentioned how they wanted to see Cera as a "mentally disturbed" character. Pfft. Good luck with that my fellow dreamers. He'd butcher it. What he'd butcher more, though is a film version of Catcher in the Rye. Eeessh.

Okay, I'm done. I feel better now.

Okay, I couldn't resist.