Okay so I’m really conflicted about this one.
It began poorly. Mediocre script by Zoe Kazan (who, might I add, has a legacy behind her name. Both her parents wrote the screenplay for Matilda along with other well known films and her grandfather, Elia Kazan, was the director of classics such as Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, and East of Eden).
Ruby Sparks is about a writer, Calvin (played by Paul Dano from Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood), who writes a self indulgent piece about his dream girl. For some unexplained reason this girl comes to existence exactly as he wrote her and he has the power to control her through the mystical power of his typewriter.
The film began seeming like an attempt to be insightful and ~quirky~. I wasn’t a fan. The humor was cheap and not well thought out.
I was seriously about to stop watching after the first five minutes.
Kazan takes a long time getting to the point, but when she finally reveals her message— I was nearly brought to tears.
Essentially, Ruby Sparks does what 500 Days of Summer failed to do. I’d almost consider them companion pieces. I think Joseph Gordon Levitt says it best:
"The (500) Days of Summer attitude of “He wants you so bad” seems attractive to some women and men, especially younger ones, but I would encourage anyone who has a crush on my character to watch it again and examine how selfish he is. He develops a mildly delusional obsession over a girl onto whom he projects all these fantasies. He thinks she’ll give his life meaning because he doesn’t care about much else going on in his life. A lot of boys and girls think their lives will have meaning if they find a partner who wants nothing else in life but them. That’s not healthy. That’s falling in love with the idea of a person, not the actual person."
This is an idea emphasized especially on men. The feminist movement has gone a long was trying to end sexual objectification of women. But in both films a much greater problem occurs: emotional objectification. What I’d like to call the “nice guy complex.”
Our protagonist is not an emblem of manhood in any traditional sense. While sexual references are made, it is clear Calvin isn’t after sex. He creates Ruby to be a quirky and cute Zooey Deschanel type with a dark and edgy past. I wanted to puke.
As the story progressed Ruby developed as a character separate from Calvin’s mind. When problems arise in their relationship Calvin never thinks to change himself to be a better person for her, but rather begins altering who she is to make her suit his emotional needs. There is a clear sense of entitlement on his part.
No matter what he does to control her, he is never satisfied. He finally breaks and there’s a horrifying climactic moment where he lashes out all his hatred for women onto her.
It returns to mediocracy towards the end. Whatever.
I would have wished a lot more from this piece because I find the message to be incredibly powerful.
Nonetheless, I’m going to have to give it an average 64/100 cats
Asked by Anonymous
Abel is the only film, to my knowledge that Diego Luna has written, so that’s pretty cool.
It’s not exactly a comedy, but not exactly a drama either. It’s quirky and psychological and very different than what I expected from the synopsis. Of course, I should have known better since, I mean, c’mon, Diego Luna.
Okay so here’s the deal. Abel (Christopher Ruíz-Esparza) is a 8ish year old boy who has just been released from the mental hospital following some psychological trauma resulting from the absence of his father. Upon his return he assumes a parental role in his family.
Like literally though. He thinks he’s the father of his two siblings and he treats his mom like his wife. It’s actually the cutest thing. He scolds his sister/daughter, helps his brother/son with homework, sleeps in his mother/wife’s bed. He assumes parental responsibility just as well as an adult would. He does gardening work and hangs paintings (to a 4 foot eye level, of course). He ultimately seems to satisfy the families apparent need for a father figure.
The conflict arises when the Abel’s father actually returns and we find out daddy is a total shit head.
Definitely a cute movie. Good cinematography and quirky fun uses of soundtrack. I loved it overall. It wasn’t particularly well written and some parts seemed to come off as forced and not very believable. It had beautiful heart pounding dramatic moments every now and then that added a certain degree of depth to the overall cute childish comedy.
so, I’d say 77/100
I’m going to have to confess that I watched this 4 times in a row. I mean not all in one sitting, but one for each day that I had this rented. I just can’t get enough of Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera.
Paper Heart is a mockumentary about Charlyne’s quest to find out what love means and why she can’t seem to feel it. She takes a roadtrip across the States with her friend Nick (Jake Johnson) and interviews people from a variety of backgrounds and even hears some of their personal stories of love and love lost. While shooting the documentary she meets Michael Cera (who plays himself) and from there an entire subplot of their burgeoning relationship develops. Charlyne’s conflict with her cynicism of love and Michael’s lovable nature makes for a quirky on screen relationship. I died a little inside. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to come up with a cuter song than “You Smell Like Christmas”. Stop it (but don’t actually, I’m in love with you both)
By the way, if any of you were wondering what all the hip kids were singing in the bedroom with Michael, it is “Devotion” by Weezer. Just figured that one out.
I completely forgot to mention that Charlyne Yi used her wonderful multimedia shorts to illustrate the personal stories of her subjects. They are A+. I feel ooey gooey, golden and nostalgic in my heart. I love that feeling.
"What’s your idea of a perfect date?"
"Take them to Applebees and get them some hot wings."
92/100 cats wearing socks
Perks of Being a Wallflower
Perks of Being a Wallflower had everything a moderately decent teen movie should have. Bedrooms covered in Morrissey posters, a “Come On Eileen” dance number, mixed tapes, drugs, gay lovers, cameos of literature classically adored by teenagers (Catcher in the Rye, Great Gatsby, etc), fights in the name of friendship, Rocky Horror, Truth or Dare, and a vaguely indie soundtrack. It was undoubtedly easy to get wrapped into. But, although it touched on some heavy material, it never felt more than a teen pop movie.
I felt as though the main conflict with Charlie’s (Logan Lerman) depression was too underplayed. I didn’t feel Emma Watson did a very effective job getting into her character, which was disappointing because Emma Watson is a doll. I also thought it was weird how a ninth grader was helping a senior study for the SAT. As a senior myself, it just didn’t seem a likely occurrence. (But I suppose that’s something to take up with Stephen Chbosky and wasn’t actually a big deal.)
There were definitely some great things about the film, though. Firstly Ezra Miller.
EZRA. FUCKING. MILLER.
I saw him in Beware the Gonzo and couldn’t say I was impressed, but this time he completely stole my heart. He did such a beautiful job fulfilling his role. There were bits in the script that called for a little bit of stereotyping of gays in his character, but he seemed very careful not to overdo it.
I really appreciated Emma Watson’s character, Sam, despite my disappointment in her portrayal. I think Sam is a fantastic example of how an active female sexuality doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It never set her back and she was never disrespected for it. Chbosky definitely won my respect on that one.
I can’t say much else. It was a lovable movie, but it’s not something that’ll change a person’s life.
A fair 70/100 cats.
Really hip and angsty cats that listen to the Smiths and discuss analytically the social dynamics of their school while smoking a joint.
I can’t believe how much I enjoyed Jonathan Levine’s The Wackness. It’s the kind of pleasant surprise similar to finding that vial of bud you thought you lost a month ago. I don’t think my evening could get much better than a gaunt Josh Peck playing a sensitive dope dealer in ‘94. Maybe I have a soft spot for the 90s and Josh Peck, but it gets even better; Ben Kingsley. Ben Kingsley, a dysfunctional, drug-addicted psychiatrist. The film follows Luke Shapiro (Josh Peck) his summer after graduating, and his quest for truth before he goes to college. The Wackness reminded me of Dazed and Confused, same stoner humor (in moderate doses) and leaves you with that fuzzy, nostalgic resin that I love. The film was very engaging. Shapiro’s character is very relate-able to young audiences like me. Aesthetically, I thoughtThe Wackness was very beautiful, I can see where others might disagree (motion graphic graffiti might be a little much) Also, Jonathan Levine, you are the Wes Anderson of 90s hip hop.
I failed to mention Olivia Thirlby, but for anyone who has seen The Wackness, must I mention her? She played an important role, but I despised her character so much that I’m not going to go into further detail.
"I got mad love for you shorty. That’s on the real."
Punch-Drunk Love, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (also known for the Oscar winning film, There Will Be Blood), is the story of a seemingly average small business owner, Barry Egan (Adam Sandler). Despite his general meekness, Barry has a issue with large angry outbursts every now and then. His world is consumed with stressful business situations and seven invasive, insensitive, and pushy sisters. It becomes clear that Barry lacks any sort of real form of release. It seems as though every person he confides in somehow betrays his trust until he meets Lena Leonard (Emily Watson). As the film explores Barry’s internal stress build up, we see him growing in his coping ability. He learns to play a harmonium that mysteriously landed in his work area and he collects pudding cups for free flying miles. Let me just add that his relationship with Lena is ridiculously cute. She provides a warm support for his quirky and awkward behavior and gives him the strength to finally stand up for himself.
The soundtrack along with Paul Anderson’s characteristic shaky camera movements beautifully defines the sense of chaotic build up creating an incredible cinematic art piece.
Great film. Lovable characters. There weren’t many memorable lines and the romantic plot was a bit generic and not well developed, but, meh, it was forgivable. A beautifully non-traditional piece
I’d give a fair 85/100 cats.
I believe this is the original ensemble cast piece about New Year’s Eve. Not that it makes it any better than the other shit ones released recently. Well, a little bit. The story follows twentysomethings and their conquest to find love/lust on New Year’s Eve. It doesn’t get more mediocre than this one, guys. Oh and setting: New York, 1981. Now that’s a laugh. I’m going to tell you what I liked about the film. I liked Paul Rudd and Casey Affleck. Why? They are attractive. Especially, Mr. Casey Affleck being all punk or whatever. I dig it. The rest of the movie? Predictable, silly, whatever. Also, Dave Chapelle, the surprisingly wise, funky cab driver? Lame. Courtney Love as Paul Rudd’s best friend? Lame. Why were they lame? They played themselves. Not in the endearing way either. Although, I will say that some of the lines were fresh and I laughed out loud. So maybe,200 Cigarettes, you were okay. At best.
"So, how do you like your eggs done in the morning, scrambled or fertilized?"
P.S - I would also like to add that Martha Plimpton was awesome.
P.S.S - Elvis Costello, what?
I WON’T STAND FOR THIS
I AM UNLEASHING ALL THE REVIEWS EVEN THOUGH NATALIE HASN’T DONE HERS