Love Happens

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


In the mood for something funny? In the mood for some romance? Something cute and tingly? Well, this is not the movie for you. Love Happens, is when love does not happen. Love is not nearby. It is far . . . far far away.

Hypocritical self help celebrity, Burke, works through his dysfunctional issues while trying to kindle a relationship with florist, Eloise.

Jennifer Aniston stars in another flop alongside failed other half, Aaron Eckhart. The plot lagged, the couple had no chemistry, and the story was a complete downer. But above all, Burke was an undesirable man and Eloise was not a good muse. None of Burke's actions seem inspired by anything, especially her. One could argue that Walter, the stoic man's man, who was able to open up after the death of his son, might have stirred a change in Burke, but this is suppose to be a romance, not a "I Love You, Man" flick.

But I'll let you guess, do you think Burke and Eloise end up together in the end? Oh the suspense! And you'll just never know because I've just convinced you to never see it.

I would like to comment on how cute I thought Aniston's wardrobe was, but that aside, this movie gets no love from me.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 8:48 PM 0 comments  

Julie & Julia

Monday, August 10, 2009


One of my favorite pastimes is eating, not so much the cooking part, but the eating. Cooking takes too much time and effort, and I'm too impatient to do things the right way; like pulling the chicken out of the freezer the night before to defrost, pre-heating the oven, or going to the store once a week so you always have fresh food. It's all too much planning and prep. I just want to eat.

Julie & Julia reunites two of my favorite actresses, Amy Adams and Meryl Streep, in this lighthearted comedy about the life of Julia Child and dedicated fan, Julie Powell. Julie, is a restless cubicle worker who decides that she needs to make a change in her life, so she sets a goal to cook her way through Julia Child's cookbook and write a blog about her experiences. In a separate lifetime, but featured in parallel, Julia Child is at the beginning of a burgeoning career, and her struggles to make it as a chef are given buoyancy with her pleasantly eccentric mannerisms.

I loved this movie's characters. Julie Powell is someone I could definitely relate to, as I found myself in her same position 2 years ago when I started this blog. Though not as successful as her, I still feel accomplishment every time I post. :) Then there is Julia Child, who is a perfect concoction of spunk and effervescent optimism. Meryl Streep, as always, embraces her role, and as this popular chef, she made Julia's extreme personality charming and adorable.

But as cute as this movie was, something bothered me. Toward the end of Julie's storyline, there was a reference to a possible hint of animosity from Julia toward Julie. And even that hint seemed totally out of character from the person Meryl portrayed. Also, there was no major climax to the plot. Julie &Julia is what I categorize as a steady flick; movies like The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio or Must Love Dogs; movies that have one tone. It's a cute movie, but not necessarily a good one.

So if you choose to watch this movie, watch it while you're full or you'll be as hungry as a bear before the film is through, go with girlfriends, and remember, Bon Appetit!

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 8:55 PM 1 comments  

Funny People

Monday, August 03, 2009


Finding humor in a tragic situation can be a gift. It can defy four out of the five stages of dying - denial, anger, bargaining, and depression. Laughter is the best medicine, after all. But in the case of George Simmons, these stages manifest themselves in humor.

George Simmons (Adam Sandler) is a professional comedian who started in stand up but has a made a career that includes major motion pictures, big-name magazine covers, multi-million dollar houses, hot girls, and no friends. When he finds out that he has a deadly disease, he goes back to his roots in stand up comedy, gains a dark edge, and befriends a young, aspiring comedian, Ira (Seth Rogen), who is grounded, loyal, and star-struck.

Through the course of this dramedy, it becomes evident that George is a selfish ass, but Sandler's depiction is subtle and surprisingly likable. Ira is George's opposite - occasionally selfish but does the right thing when it counts. The development of their relationship was fun to watch at first, but then the movie just dragged; dragged during George's attempts to win his married ex-girlfriend back; dragged when hunky Eric Bana beats the crap out of frumpy Sandler. The film lost my interest, and by the end, I didn't care so much about Ira or George. Where's the humor in watching a train wreck?

It was cool to see into the life of the comedian lifestyle; a lifestyle that isn't portrayed that often in movies - the hard work, the creativity behind a good joke, the need for a lucky break, and the glamorous poverty of an unsuccessful career in the entertainment industry. However, I couldn't help but feel this watch was a waste of my time. The flick may star funny people, but it wasn't that funny. I'd skip it for something else. Funny People includes cameos from Marshall Mathers, Ray Ramano, and James Tayler.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 10:16 PM 0 comments  

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Monday, July 27, 2009


I love summer flicks. The first blockbuster I remember watching was Independence Day. I was twelve-years-old, and I remember sitting in the cold theater, grateful that I was out of the heat, and laughing at Will Smith's comic relief line of "Welcome to Earth" as he punched out the alien. That's good stuff right there. Yes, the flick might be lame, but Bill Pullmen still had the best inspirational president speech I've ever seen. But one of this summer's most anticipated blockbusters, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is lame.

The Decepticons breached the security of the U.S. governemnt to find the location of Megatron, who was previously dumped at the bottom of the ocean, and brought him back to life using a splinter from the Allspark left on Sam Witwicky's sweater. Megatron is then reunited with his leader, The Fallen, who wants to kill Earth by destroying the Sun, so the Autobots join forces with Sam Witwicky once more to stop them.

A terrible follow up to the first film, Revenge of the Fallen is almost, but not quite, trashy. The all encompassing, goodness incarnate, Optimus Prime of the first film has been degraded to shooting enemies execution-style and saying wannabe bad-ass remarks that I would only expect from an Arnold; the quick-witted, dorky Sam is no longer lovable and boyish - he's just a selfish teenager; and the film took a turn for the worse when it decided to show Agent Simmon's behind in a Sector Seven thong. Riddled with crude humor, it was aweful to see how the sequel of a good family film was spun into this monstraisity. Those scenes with Mrs. Witwicky were espcially hard to watch. It's only saving factor was the intense action scenes aided by the amazing CG.

So in closing, Independence Day is an example of a good summer movie - fun, filled with action, entertaining, and no need for brainpower. Revenge of the Fallen exemplifies a bad summer movie - cheap humor, bad plot, expensive explosions.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 12:15 PM 2 comments  

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Friday, July 17, 2009


I read Harry Potter almost every night. Sometimes, I'll only read parts; other times, I'll start reading a whole book all the way through. And each time is always just as good as the first. I do this because I need to remind myself that, though fantasy, there exists a world where good always triumphs over evil. I do this because when I start to feel the insignificance in a world so large, I'm reminded that love and friendship is what gives my life meaning.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opened at midnight, setting the new record for midnight sales at $22.2 million. In his sixth year, Harry returns to Hogwarts and faces the wizarding world as "The Chosen One." During private lessons, Dumbledore shows Harry memories that he has collected, in the hopes that they find something that will help them destroy Lord Voldemort.

Though not as intense as its predecessors, Prince is basically just a set-up for the the last installments of the Potter series. I don't think this film is able to stand on its own, but its very good just the same. When the movie stopped to look into the calmer moments of the trio, Hermione, Ron and Harry, it had a number of funny, light-hearted scenes, but almost equal were scenes of heartache and grief. Also, I thought this film did an excellent job of making Harry a likeable character (at this point in the novels, Harry is quite stubborn and obsessive), and the filmmakers did a fairly good job of abbreviating the plot. However, as an avid book fan, I did think they left a lot of important details out. I'm not sure how they'll manage to explain some things in the next film, but if they do, I won't complain.

Coming of age is a bittersweet ordeal, and what struck me the most about this movie was the general tone of maturity. There are certain things in life that you have to go at alone; the first day of kindergarten, moving away from home - anything that involves growing up and making your way through this world, anything involving a defining decision. And that is where Harry is; on the verge of a defining decision. So, just a few hours ago, when I finished watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I was left with loneliness. Though Harry is supported and in the company of truly loyal friends, I'm reminded that Harry is still alone with his burden.

And I feel alone with him.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 11:31 PM 3 comments  


Friday, February 20, 2009


Whenever I play the "would you rather" game, very rarely do I hear someone prefer to go blind when faced with the vision verses hearing question. The fact is, if you lose your sense of sight, it seems harder to function "normally." You can't drive, you can't read, you can't watch TV, (Lord, I couldn't watch movies!) and you'd have a hard time just walking. And so, the movie Blindness takes these real dilemmas to the next level. What if the whole world went blind?

Based on the novel by Jose Saramago, Blindness portrays a world suffering from a blindness epidemic. Though curious about the how the disease came to be, like most adequate science fiction films, the cause isn't the point - it's what ensues. Mark Ruffalo stars as doctor fallen victim to the infection and Julienne Moore is his disease immune wife who follows him to quarantine, AKA internment camp. From there, let your pessimistic imagination run wild.

What I found very fascinating was how intense and realistic some of these scenes were. These internment camps became toxic waste dumps. Unable to see, these people couldn't manage to do what we take for granted - knowing how to find the bathroom, how to bath, how to live. And those uninfected are unwilling to care for them. Though under military governance, inside the ward walls is complete and total anarchy; ::shudders:: horrors I don't even want to think about but was forced to watch.

The lighting, in general, is ethereal, unique, and thoroughly thought out. There were also times of complete darkness; symbolic of their utter desperation and civilization's decent into savagery. Blindness also becomes a commentary on society's failure to see how and who people can become when faced with such hardship.

However, somewhere in the middle of this world Blindness created, there were character developments that didn't quite make sense, and relationship that weren't fully construed. Though the world was mesmerizing, its characters were too flawed for me to find empathy. Plus the hope was lost in the ending, a feeling I'm assuming I was suppose to feel at the end. Maybe I just didn't get it, but I'm fairly certain I'm not blind.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 8:36 PM 2 comments  


Monday, February 16, 2009


Filmed in France and originally released there in 2006, Hors de prix, or its American title, Priceless, took quite some time to reach the United States. Apparently, its a French adaption of the American classic, Breakfast at Tiffany's. Good thing I didn't know about that fact when I first watched it, or it might have biased my opinion - though I did keep saying to myself how the movie seemed strangely familiar.

This sweet, not so French, film stars Audrey Tautou as Irene, a glamorous, young con artist who manipulates wealthy men into spoiling her. Jean is a shy butler with humble means, and after a classic case of mistaken identities, Jean is smitten by her. When she realizes that he's poor, she still, coldly lets Jean spends every cent of his savings for one evening with his expensive date. After he's stuck with the luxury hotel bill, unable to pay it, and ditched by Irene, a wealthy, older woman happily assumes the cost as long as he becomes her playmate. Now, both at the same level, Irene accepts Jean's friendship and begins teaching him the ways of the wile.

Nothing seemed French about this film, other than the fact that I watched this film with English subtitles. A great story, both characters become equally lovable - though at the beginning, that didn't seem likely. Jean is sensitive and intensely devoted, while Irene is enchanting and ardent past her shallow and materialistic exterior. Their friendship and his devotion were very real and engaging. Priceless was bright and cute, with just that hint of extra class found very rarely in romantic comedies.

I definitely recommend Priceless to anyone who wants to watch a cute movie. Be ready for English subtitles and a gorgeous Audrey Tautou in high fashion clothing. Advice from the movieGOOMBA - this is not a movie to watch when you feel bloated.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 3:42 PM 0 comments