… of things I apparently know how to make.
Frozen is the latest film from Disney Animation, which is NOT Pixar (thank God.) They last bought us Wreck-It Ralph so I had hope that this one would at least be halfway decent, and it pretty much was.
It’s been a long time since I saw a ‘classic’ Disney animated musical. Princesses ain’t my thing, but I was in the mood for something fun and this one had high marks from critics. And it’s in 3D. So what the hell.
I will say that it really was a throwback to classic Disney storytelling. There was not one princess, but two (Spoiler alert! One becomes a queen.) Characters break into song constantly. There’s an almost-human animal, a completely magical non-human character to provide comedy relief, there’s evil afoot, but it all turns out in the end and everyone lives happily ever after. As far as we know.
There was a refreshing lack of contemporary pop-culture references, which will probably give Frozen a long shelf-life. Though my wife noticed that the princesses did have a bit of a Valley accent. I didn’t notice so it didn’t bug me. Maybe they have to throw that in there so the kids these days can at least relate to one small thing, given that most kids these days are not princesses and don’t live in a castle.
Most of the songs were catchy, but apparently not memorably since I can’t recall the name of a single one of them. I don’t think people will know the tunes 50 years from now like we know ‘Whistle While You Work’ or ‘Zippity Do Dah’. But the served the plot, didn’t go on too long, and holy shit did you know Kristen Bell can sing? Neither did I. The two other main castmembers that sang have a Broadway background so guh, of course they sang. But I was surprised to see her name in the credits for singing her own parts, they often have a pro stand in for those parts.
The animation was done pretty well. You wouldn’t think you could do much with snow and ice but the ice castle was pretty spectacular. I’m not sure the 3D added anything, but it wasn’t used for cheap gags, either.
So, yeah. It was fun but I won’t be going out to buy the Bluray when it comes out. I’m a middle-aged dude, for chrissake. Anyone with kids, and especially girl kids, will want to take them to see this. The underlying theme is girl power, and there’s a little tweak to the typical Disney ending that was nice to see.
Katniss is back, baby! And she’s Kattier than ever.
This young adult fiction thing isn’t really my bag, I’m more into kid’s things like Harry Potter. But the first one was entertaining enough. And this second one was better.
Jennifer Lawrence is America’s sweetheart and does a commendable job in the lead role. Thankfully she’s just a good actress and not just a pretty face. Which doesn’t explain how Kristen Stewart was the lead in Twilight, she’s neither of those things. But I digress.
Shit, I’m tired and don’t feel like writing. I probably should do this some other time, but I won’t. If you liked the first one you’ll like this one more. The action is good. The effects are good. The pace is good, no dead spots. Jena Malone plays a convincing psycho. Woody Harrelson is better than I’d like to admit. I want Stanley Tucci to be my dad. Just go see the damn thing like everyone else.
I’d like to briefly mention that it looks like the studio sprung for a tripod this time around, but the cinematographer still didn’t use it enough. Look, I know that the cameras you filmed this with weigh in excess of 25 pounds with a film magazine attached. I know you’re not holding it up with one hand. If anything, they’re shoulder mounted. So this ‘handheld’ shaky-cam shit isn’t fooling everyone. It’s a stupid style and terrible annoying. It looks artificial and takes you out of the scenes you use it in, especially the scenes where two people are sitting on the ground talking to each other. Someone please explain to me how this is supposed to improve a scene where nobody is getting shot or a scene where there are no explosions. Handheld shaky-cam has a place, but it’s not in these types of scenes. Hollywood, knock it off.
Hey! Another documentary about food! I guess I can’t get enough of these, and this one was WELL DONE. Get it? See what I did there?
The film intercuts the stories of three restaurants and their owners/chefs. Three very different restaurants: a family-style Mexican restaurant in Arizona, a 150+ year old ‘country style’ restaurant in Iowa and a high-falutin’ nouveau gastronomic richy-rich place in Chicago that is almost indescribable.
To me, the genius of the film was expressing what it is we, as consumers, expect and get out of our food. And to a certain degree how the owners/chefs/cooks dictate that to us. Do we want our food to tell a story? To have a provenance, so to speak? Or do we just want to sit down and eat? Does it matter what the restaurant looks like, do we want a show with our food? Or do we want to just sit down amongst friends and have pie?
About two thirds of the way through the movie, they throw some adversity into all three stories. One story in particular up to that point played out to me as a sort of Spinal Tap of food. They could have marketed that story as an absurdist comedy. Then the whole thing gets turned on its head and gets real, man. I kinda felt like a dick for thinking one of the chefs was a joke and eventually came around to maybe sort of admiring they guy. (being vague and coy about which of the three restaurants I’m referring to, so I don’t ruin any of the stories for the none of you that will go out to see this movie.)
As in life, things don’t always work out. One of the three restaurants was not able to overcome the problems set in front of it. The restaurant world is a cruel mistress. You really feel for the people that put their heart and soul into something just to have it consume them and ultimately, maybe, ruin them. Restaurants go out of business all the time but you never really give it a second thought. At least I didn’t. I probably still won’t but it was interesting to get the perspective. To get into that business you really have to love it because you’ll be married to it until the day you die, or your restaurant tries to murder you (like in one of the restaurants in the film.)
The end. (stuck on a closing, just go see it.)
So yeah, I’ve gone my whole life so far without ever seeing an NBA game live. Shit, probably never watched one on TV. It’s not my bag. But the opportunity came up to see the Warriors for free (minus 25 bucks for parking and about the same for food) so we went. It was more fun than I thought it would be. As with just about any sport aside from golf, it’s more enjoyable to watch it live.
I should have brushed up on my basketball. Play stopped often for no discernible reason. I have no idea what a personal foul is. Not to mention technical foul or what I think they were calling a team foul. And I don’t know what the consequences are. Some guys had 3 or 4 of them and seemed to still be playing.
In some ways I got a bit of fan fatigue. Plays happen so often (a maximum of 24 seconds apart) and baskets happen so often that it seems like you’re constantly clapping. And a lot of it isn’t that exciting. It took almost the entire first period before we saw our first dunk. That was awesome. But not being a fan I probably just don’t know what to look for. I can watch a 0-0 double shutout NHL game and see lots of shit to get excited about. Hockey bores the hell out of most people but I watch so much of it I can appreciate it more than a sport I rarely see.
Fan etiquette is a lot different at an NBA game, especially when compared to the NHL. My wife (I think correctly) theorized it’s because there’s not as much stoppage in play. When there’s a foul, play resumes almost immediately. There’s not a lot of opportunity to tactfully get out of your seat, so people just get up and go about their business whenever they want. We were in a suite so it didn’t matter, nor would it have mattered if we weren’t, I think. Even at hockey games I don’t have much of a problem if people get up during play and immediately leave. It’s the retards that get up and stay put, chit chatting as if they’re the only ones in the arena, that piss me off.
The PA announcer, organ and music plays at all times at an NBA game, too, which kinda made me feel weird. In hockey, as soon as the puck drops the only sound comes from the fans. I think it’s like that in baseball, too.
So there you have it. Basketball is not hockey. Ha ha. But I still had a better time than I anticipated. If the opportunity arises to see more Warriors games I’ll certainly go. I’m not sure if Idl pay full price for it, but for free you can’t go wrong.
Awards season is in full swing, and I wonder what the Academy does when the same actor turns in two Oscar-caliber performances in one year? Do they just pick one or give him two slots?
I never thought in a million years I’d write that about Matthew McConaughey, but there you go. Between this and Mud, dude has arrived as an actual, real-life respected actor. Truth be told he was pretty good in the underrated The Lincoln Lawyer, too. Cats and dogs living together, indeed.
Dallas Buyers Club tells the real life (with embellishments) story of Ron Woodroof, an early AIDS victim in Dallas that worked outside the system (smuggles) to acquire unapproved drugs to not only extend his own life but help others like him that have little hope for a higher quality of life while working within the medical systems of 1985.
As you can imagine, many aspects of the story are altogether depressing, but the amount of good Ron did in his life (verified) is astounding and encouraging. This is one of my favorite kinds of stories, when an ordinary person is thrust into a situation where they have to do extraordinary things. And in this case, most of what is shown in the movie is true.
Highly recommended movie, if for no reason other than to be up on the buzz during awards season.