Lars And The Real Girl

Monday, October 29, 2007


Realness is easy to take for granted. One thinks it's just common sense, but what really makes something "real." Does it have to be tangible? Do you have to see it to believe it; to believe in it? The thing I love the most in this whole wide world is my Cabbage Patch Kid doll, Fifi. I don't talk about her much, but she's quietly sat on my bed for my entire life. I love her like I love nothing else. She's the first thing I reach for when I have a bad day, and the last thing I kiss before I got so sleep. I don't know what compels my fondness for her, and I don't expect anyone to understand. She may not have "life," but she's in my life. So even though she's not real to you, it doesn't matter. She's real to me, and that is what makes something real.

Lars And The Real Girl creatively explores this same concept of love for an inanimate object. A grown man, Lars is an obliviously awkward recluse, yet he is sweet, thoughtful, and kind. He diligently goes to work each morning, and devotedly attends service every Sunday. He is refreshingly naive but has the depth of a thousand year old man. Completely incapable of handling the most simple human interaction, Lars orders an anatomically correct, life-size doll, Bianca; not for sex, but for companionship (both are waiting for marriage). All of sudden, Lars is a new person. He attends parties, makes new friends, and he's the happiest he's ever been. This is what every healthy relationship should do to a person . . . except his girlfriend's a doll.

"How is this movie even watchable?" you ask. Well, obviously Lars is delusional, but that's about all that's wrong with his character. And its heartwarming to see a town that loves Lars so much that its people go out of its way to humor him. Through the duration of the film, Bianca is never shown in the nude, and she is never cast aside like a "thing" that was born from a box. She's treated with respect and decency; just like a person. Because of Lars' love for Bianca, and the town's love for Lars, the rigid, silicone Bianca is full of life and personality. The dry, situational humor makes the pathos of this film bearable, and Ryan Gosling's exceptional acting compels empathy from an audience that may balk at the idea of making room in its heart for loony Lars and his doll.

This movie sends an interesting message about the things we need to do to work out our feelings, and it has so much optimism about people and their ability to embrace and understand the differences in others. This is a good movie. Don't judge it before you see it.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 7:30 PM 0 comments  


Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Evening is my favorite time of day. Especially in the summer when the heat of the sun yields to the relief of the cool evening breeze. ::sigh:: Evening is the most relaxing time. It's when people are allowed to unwind and take a break from their day's adventures; sometimes sitting on the porch as the sun sets; taking the time to sit and just be. Well, Evening, the movie, is nothing like that. It's plot was jerky and disorienting; flighty and nonsensical.

An impressive cast consisting of Meryl Streep, Claire Danes, Toni Colette, and Glenn Close, to name a few, surprisingly makes for a very disappointing film. On her deathbed, Ann Lord floats in and out of a dream-like state; sometimes to real memories, other times to delusions; all relating to her love affair with Harris Arden. Meanwhile her adult daughters sit and lament over the choices they've made and the life they still have to face.

I give huge kudos to the Director of Photography. There was some great lighting techniques used in this film, and good lighting always makes a film more "legitimate" film. However, lighting can't save horrible storytelling. The only parts that were remotely coherent were Ann's flashbacks to few days before her best friend's wedding. Every other time, I was struggling to follow along; hoping that I would eventually understand why everyone had so much regret. The film did come to a point where I said out loud, "Oh, good, now I can see how . . ." but then the credits started to roll before I could finish my sentence.

There were so many things that this movie did wrong. Does anyone out there understand why Harris is so appealing? I don't even think he's that good looking. Why did he not love Lila, that poor girl. Why did she and Ann lose touch? Why did Ann marry Richard if she loved Harris so much? Oh, and Buddy, poor Buddy. Why was he so messed up? And why was Ann so mean to him? So many questions about a plot shouldn't be generated by a film unless it's Donnie Darko, and at least those are philosophical questions.

Evening ended leaving me frustrated and unamused; nothing like a cool breeze at the end of a long day. More like someone saying that I have to run fifteen more errands directly after work, not being able to go to bed until 1am, and needing wake up at 6am the next morning. Evening was like that, so don't do it to yourself.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 10:35 PM 0 comments  

Lucky You

Friday, October 19, 2007


The people who make movie trailers mislead the public, they get people to watch terrible movies, and they have almost sole power over a movie's box office numbers. Make a great movie trailer, and twist the story just so, and boom, you have an audience. Such great power . . . they have to be evil. I wish I was one of them. :) Unfortunately for me (and anyone else who watched this movie for that matter) I was tricked into watching Drew Barrymore's recent "chick flick," Lucky You. Except it wasn't really Drew Barrymore's, and it wasn't really a chick flick. They're liars. Every one of them.

Lucky You is like a wannabe Rounders except bad. It makes poker look boring, and is a sorry excuse for a romantic comedy. It wasn't even a comedy . . . I think?

Huckleberry Cheever is an addicted, professional poker player. Like most compulsive gamblers, his financial situation is always questionable. He owns no possessions because he hawks everything, and his grudge and rivalry with his father, who is also a professional poker player, hinders his ability to play and bet smart. Where in this does Barrymore come in? She's just the naive muse. She's second banana. Huck uses her for money, but, oh surprise, he's actually in love with her.

First of all, Huck had no character. He had no depth to him. He was one dimensional, and his attraction to Billie (Barrymore) wasn't believable. They had absolutely no chemistry. There was no development in their relationship, and it was secondary to the tournament plot. It was literally Huck and Billie sleeping together, Huck stealing her money, and Huck begging for forgiveness. Why in the world does she even like him? Huck's character was poorly written and horribly executed.

Second, they spend WAY too much time explaining the rules of poker. The audience doesn't need to understand ever little minute detail of the game. We're just in it to get that happy-fell-good feeling after watching a chick flick. We don't care how poker works. We get the idea. You don't have to tell me that in 1999 the only person who won the world series of poker with a straight flush was blah blah blah. I don't need to know that Huck's $30,000 raise means that he probably has a poke pair. I don't care. Just give me the gist!

Lastly, this movie was BORING. It wasn't just bad, it made me want to sleep for 48 hours straight.

I'm not going to tell you what to do. You already know how I feel about it. It was bad, so now maybe you'll be spared from this lie that the trailer told you. Lucky you.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 6:10 PM 0 comments  

Knocked Up

Monday, October 15, 2007


Now, I'm pretty sure that this movie could be a 4.5 GOOMBA flick, but I'm not quite sure because I happened to watch a copy that some kooky mom and pop video store in Hawaii hacked up. Ohana Video (which weirdly doubled as a scrapbook supply store) felt like they needed to edit out all "inappropriate" language and scenes from all their DVDs before they rent them out to the public. I guess they don't trust the actual filmmakers and the MPAA to do their own job. Sounds kind of Communistic, if you ask me. So there I was, stuck watching a movie that advertises and prides itself on sexual humor and circumstance, yet all of it was cut out. How did it hold up? Surprisingly, pretty well.

Knocked Up stars former alien and current doctor, Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen, a talented film guru with a fetish for social awkwardness. Heigl plays Alison Scott, an aspiring television personality for E Entertainment while Rogen is Ben Stone, a Canadian illegal immigrant stoner. One night, at a club, both take their drunkenness too far and they hook up for a one night stand. The title should give away the rest.

This movie was a great romantic comedy. The characters were vivid and yet undeniably down-to-earth. They possessed qualities that anyone can relate to despite some ridiculous humor (most of which I'm sure I have not seen yet). Ben is so lovable, even as a pothead. He's genuine and weird, and he kind of has a Lloyd Dobbler thing going for him. He doesn't recoil at the idea of having a baby. He embraces it. He doesn't quite know what to do with himself in the begining, but he tries. Alison is independent and motivated; qualities that most women admire. Yet the idea of her unplanned pregnancy breaks her down, just as it would any other woman under the same circumstances. Women will project themselves into that same situation and crack up because Alison's reaction has so much truth to it that it's funny.

The story was simple, it made me laugh, and it made me go "Awe!" Some sure evidence that I had a winner. Now I just need to go and watch the "real" version to be sure.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 9:21 PM 2 comments  

Nancy Drew


As a kid, I never read Judy Blume, The Baby-Sitter's Club, Sweet Valley Twins, or any other over-the-top, girl-centric series. The plots just never struck me as interesting. I did like those cry-fest Lauren McDaniel books whose heroines always had fatal diseases; go figure. Looking back, I do wish I had read the Nancy Drew books, but unfortunately at the time, she seemed to fit into the genre that I really quite despised.

Staring Emma Roberts, niece of Academy Award Winner, Julia Roberts (can you see the resemblance now that I mentioned it?), Nancy Drew is up to her usual sleuthing in this updated film on one of America's favorite teenage detective. Nancy temporarily relocates to sunny California with her father and attempts to uncover the truth behind Dehlia Draycott's mysterious death.

I thought Emma Roberts performance was refreshing and cute, and I also admired how the film took the original novels' vintage feel and projected it into a modern storyline. The blue roadster, the smart suits with the matching hat and shoes, baked goods, and warm wool coats; these are all details that are nostalgic of the 1950's when the original Nancy Drew was most popular, and somehow Nancy still fit.

However, overall, this movie was disappointing. It had the tween formula down; cute boy, cute wardrobe, tame enough adventure, and the adolescent drama, but it was just so absurd. Come on, Nancy Drew defusing a bomb? Working with the local sheriff to solve a case? Bribing record keepers with a blondie (that's a white chocolate brownie to you politically correct folks)? I don't know if Nancy Drew was naive in the books, but she sure was on screen. I couldn't buy it. Agent Cody Banks is one thing. You know that it's absolutely ridiculous, so you just get over it, but the filmmakers portrayed Nancy as someone who is believable, plausible, probably like how she was in the books, but she was so not.

Sorry Emma Roberts, you are not a bad-ass. You're a perfectionist priss. Let your kids watch this movie, but remind them that it is not okay to get involved in dangerous murder mysteries or talking armed burglers out of robbing a bank. I do not recommend this movie for sane adults, even if you're like me and love High School Musical.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 5:05 PM 1 comments  


Monday, October 01, 2007


I love it when titles have a very obvious meaning but with a very deep significance.

SherryBaby stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as Sherry, a struggling, freshly rehabilitated, young mother whose one goal is retain custody of her daughter. Desperate as she is to stay clean during her parole, Sherry becomes an example of how hard it is for women of her means to graduate from the system.

This movie was almost unbearable. It was incredibly difficult to watch, and even harder to see Sherry make poor choice after poor choice despite her intensely genuine intentions. To put it bluntly, Sherry is white trash. She uses sex to get ahead, which isn't very far, and she doesn't posses the skills or the education to clean up. What's heartbreaking is that none of it is her fault. Her parents have thoroughly messed her up, and there's no one who can show her the way. All she can do is try and provide a better life for her daughter. There's no longer any hope for herself.

The title, SherryBaby, is a reference to Sherry's tartness but simultaneously commenting the softness of her love for her daughter.

This movie is stressful and devastating, but Gyllenhaal's performance is a work of art. Watch it as an example of what great acting is.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 10:13 PM 0 comments