A Christmas Story

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Now honestly, how many times have you seen this movie from beginning to end? Probably not that many times. You've probably seen the 'Leg Lamp' scene, and the 'Tongue stuck to the pole' scene, maybe Santa saying "You'll shoot your eye out, Kid!" scene, so you basically get the general gist of the movie.

TBS is advertising it this Christmas as "The funniest Christmas movie ever." I don't know about the funniest Christmas movie ever, but it definitely has its moments. Yet what makes this movie classic is its originality in choice of narration and tone.

This light-hearted, goofy film features Ralphie, an 8 year old boy who wants a 'Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle' for Christmas, and his need for this particular gift presents the perfect stage for his family to express their very different personalities. Not only is his family refreshingly not like any portrayal of the average American family in 1940, but they have character. There's the father who thinks the "electric sex" lamp is the most wonderful prize in the whole world; the dotting mother who get her son to eat by asking him to show her how "little piggies eat"; the little son who is forced to dress in 100 layers before venturing out into the snow. All the while, the entire film is narrated by an adult Ralphie in present tense. Already this movie has creatively changed the stereotypical expectations of any Christmas film of its time.

Like Citizen Kane giving new meaning to the camera angle and crossfade, or Momento taking linear narration to a new level, A Christmas Story opened up a whole new world of film and television possibilities. The Wonder Years, Look Who's Talking, and Christmas Vacation all pay homage to A Christmas Story in one way or the other; adult thoughts and ideas coming from an obviously younger person or a Christmas movie that portrays the flaws in the family dynamic. You can thank The Christmas Story for those.

This movie may not be your favorite Christmas movie, but how can you not appreciate a "double dog dare" kind of a movie?

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 9:44 AM 0 comments  

Material Girls

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I really like Hilary Duff movies (::bows head in shame::). I admit it. I own two of them. But why should I be embarrassed? Probably because all of them exist not for the sake of art, but for the sake of marketing a young, Disney-ized starlet who is currently a hot commodity. Her face in any movie will surely draw in a substantial tween following. Why? Because how can you not like Hilary Duff? She can't act, which probably means that a lot of what comes on screen is herself; goodie-goodie nature, innocent, and sweet. Despite the brain-washing, Mcdonaldized intentions of this movie, should I like Hilary Duff and her cane sugar sweetness? Probably not. Either way, her movies are fun to watch, and I love seeing what she wears.

However, aside from how much I like Hilary Duff, I must say that this movie was pretty bad. Maybe it was meant to be one of those movies like Dumb and Dumberer, where the comedy is so far-fetched and the situations are so absurd that you're not suppose to ask obvious questions like 'Why didn't they have home owners insurance when they burned down their mansion?', 'Why did Tanzie's crush just happen to be wandering the business halls in the middle of the night and Tanzie and Ava didn't ask any questions?', ' Why didn't they call their mother in Egypt?!'. Sadly, it wasn't suppose to be like Dumb and Dumberer. What might explain the poor script and over the top situations would be that this script was originally written for the Olsen twins . . . think 'New York Minute'. Need I say more?

What's funny is even though Hilary was suppose to act like a selfish brat, she still comes out as she does in her other movies. Sweet and nice. She can't act at all. I'm telling you, she has to be like this in real life.

I like Hilary Duff, and the .50 Goomba is for her. The 1 Goomba is for the costume designers, because their clothes were nice to look at and for the cute guys in the movie (another perk, there are always cute guys in her movies). Other than that, this movie was probably a waste of my time, but it is a Hilary Duff movie, so I really didn't expect much.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 2:19 PM 0 comments  

The Devil Wears Prada

Thursday, December 14, 2006


The 'chick flick' recipe was correct and uninteresting. Sweet girl from 'the sticks' is introduced to new, fast paced, cut throat life. She doesn't fit in. She gets a make over. She does fit in. She changes into a selfish, shallow person. Friends and family are concerned. Boyfriend breaks up with her. She sleeps with new, equally selfish pretty boy. She realizes the wrong of her new ways. She goes back to her old way of life . . . except more stylish and independent.
Sounds pretty boring, but what makes this movie so good is the acting. It transforms this homemade bunt cake recipe into creme brulee.

Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep star as Andy Sachs and Miranda Priestly, but it was Streep who really captivates the movie. Her performance was brilliant. Her role was to be a bitchy demanding boss, but Streep's contribution gave this character depth and dimension. Priestly was a woman demanding and superior with just the right hint of indifference toward those around her, yet so passive aggressive and private. Unlike most antagonists, the viewer doesn't hate her, even though Priestly expects Andy to drop all of her personal plans to bring her the dry cleaning; even though Priestly belittles Andy's clothes, hair, and shoes; even though Priestly expects Andy to find the unpublished copy of Harry Potter or be fired. There's a quality in Streep's portrayal that keeps the audience on the ride with Andy; a kind of sadness in her that only Andy and the audience sees. And for that reason, we do not hate 'the devil' on heels.

Aside from that, if you just want to pop in a movie to look at pretty people, this is the movie for you. The fashion is ridiculously gorgeous. But if you're looking for something with a little more depth, you may be surprised to find that here too.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 11:35 AM 0 comments  

Casino Royal

Friday, December 08, 2006


Casino Royal, the latest James Bond flick, really does live up to all the hype. All the necessary Bond elements are there and fully loaded; explosions, lots and lots of guns, fast yet luxurious cars, a crazy enemy, and beautiful women. James Bond isn't half bad looking himself.

I watched this movie weeks ago, but I haven't written about it because I was struggling with whether or not to compare it to other Bond films. Critics, the media, and the population in general can't help but compare Daniel Craig to Pierce Brosnan, but is that really fair? To me, comparing Craig to Brosnan is like comparing Brad and Angelina to Brad and Jenn. Craig is a rugged and coarse Bond. Brosnan is a classy, luxurious Bond. How do you compare those two? I don't think you can. So I won't.

Casino Royal begins with an amazing chase scene, and it helps set the tone for the entire film. James Bond is almost a vigilante in this film, and throughout the whole movie, he struggles with authority. Because this is a portrayal of Bond at the beginning part of his career, Bond makes some very large mistakes in judgement. He's not nearly as smooth and debonair as you'd think James Bond should be, and that's what makes this film unique. James Bond is just a normal human being. He wasn't always a kick ass spy, just a bad ass kind of person.

The only criticism I have for this movie is the thrown together plot. What should have been the climax and ending was actually followed by what seemed to be a "Oh crap, we forgot to resolve that part of the storyline!" so writers added it in at the end to make a sort of secondary climax that was indeed, anti-climatic.

However, since most action films, and Bond movies for that matter, can get by on cute girls, expensive cars, lots of guns, and mind-blowing action, this Bond has won me over.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 2:34 PM 0 comments