June 24, 2014

7 Signs You've Watched "Frozen" Way Too Many Times

If your house is anything like mine, the fact that it's now summer has not stopped the viewing of Frozen on a constant loop. In fact, it's gotten so bad that my sister and I started betting on who can identify all the instances in which a character in the movie says the exact phrase, "Wait, what?" (Hint: it happens wayyyy more often than it should.)

As many of you know, I tried a few weeks ago to force a changing of the guard by wooing my three year old with candy and her first movie theater experience. She was decidedly unimpressed. So here we are, back to watching the same DVD over and over again in our living room until I am certain either the disc will wear through or I will be forced to throw it out the window and pretend it's lost.

In this era of Frozen madness, how do you know when you've burned yourself out and watched the movie too many damn times? I've complied a handy list of seven signs you may have crossed that line:

1. You start becoming one of those annoying people who nitpick irrelevant factual details, like the fact that Olaf re-starts a fire with just a toss of a match into the wood, despite the fact that Hans doused it with water only mere minutes before. Or the fact that this movie is supposed to be set in Scandinavia in July, yet the sky is dark at night.

2. You become so attached to the characters that you find yourself upset that your kid always insists on being Elsa and relegates you to being Sven or some other minor character no one cares about.

3. You've started critiquing the lyrics in "For the First Time in Forever," noticing the lines that serve little purpose to the theme of the song and are just there to rhyme with the previous line.

4. You've spent countless runs through the movie trying to identify the voice of Olaf before finally caving and looking it up, then wondering, 'who the hell is Josh Gad?'

5. You find yourself envious of Elsa's amazing hair and start brainstorming ideas of how to get your own hair to even remotely resemble it.

5. You've psycho-analyzed and judged the child-rearing choices of Elsa and Anna's parents and decided that really, everything is their fault. (Though those pesky trolls sure didn't help.)

6. You know all about the covert appearance of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, rolling your eyes when people try to tell you about it like you're some kind of Frozen-watching novice.

7. You've sought out crazy internet theories to explain the gaping plot holes in the movie. And they make sense to you. 

Well, I'd better go. I hear Let It Go on in the background!

June 18, 2014

The Wolverine (2013)

Hugh Jackman

Hiroyuki Sanada just
recycled his outfit from
The Last Samuari
Ahhhhh finally... Asians!!! Of course, they are typecast as Samurai warriors and subservient types, but you know, at least the Japanese characters are actually played by Japanese actors. (Unlike say, Memoirs of a Geisha where all the geishas are conspicuously Chinese.)

Sure, Wolverine comes off as one of those white guys with an Asian fetish (and apparently a wet hair fetish, since the entire movies seems to take place in the rain), but at least we get to see him in a kimono! It's not like the movie ended up as a mutation of Madame Butterfly, spliced with scenes from The Last Samurai. Oh, and Transformers. You know, just in case you forgot this was classified as a sci-fi movie.

As for the rest of the movie, it's about what you'd expect. There are some decent fight scenes; there are some cheesy, heavily CGI-ed fight scenes. There are definitely a lot of pauses in fighting with long, menacing stares at the camera. What, is that not how people fight in real life?

One positive I pulled from it all was the introduction of Rila Fukushima (one of my favorite models, seen left) to the American population, who looks very much like the Japanese answer to Christina Ricci. She has that disproportionately large head and eyes look - like a Bratz doll - that grows on you after awhile. I much preferred her over the classically pretty Tao Okamoto, who is also a model, but has the acting skills of well, a runway model. After 20 seasons "cycles" of ANTM, Tyra has finally convinced me that "quirky" girls are more interesting to watch. Unfortunately, Okamoto is slated to appear in the new Batman v. Superman movie, so I'll just have to hope she fixes that vacant look her face registers for much of the movie.

Final word: It's about on par with The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Which I guess means we can expect four more sequels.

P.S. Did people really pay to watch it in 3D? I know High Jackman has a nice body, but come on!

June 11, 2014

Gambit (2012)

Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman

Every Minnesotan I know, in response to the myth that we are flannel-wearing backwoods hicks who are years behind on pop culture, is quick to name every big name who has ever hailed from our state. Prince and Bob Dylan naturally top the list because everyone actually knows who they are. But we also have a slew of B/C-Listers like Jessica Biel, Seann William Scott, Rachel Leigh Cook, and Josh Hartnett (pictured left in case you didn't even remember who he was), to name a few. My personal favorite is Genevieve Gorder from Trading Spaces (though I think it's weird and gross that she insists on being barefoot in everyone's house).

And I suppose being a movie blog, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Coen brothers - Minnesota natives who managed to perpetuate the myth that everyone in Minnesota has a hokey accent and falsely positioned Fargo in Minnesota when it is, in fact, located in North Dakota. Sigh.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have not seen every movie the Coen brothers have written. I couldn't possibly sit through all of them, considering I have yet to like a single one I've seen. Yes, this means I did not enjoy their Oscar-winning Fargo (obviously), No Country for Old Men, or even The Big Lebowski. Even their tamer fare, like Intolerable Cruelty, was, well, intolerable.

Fast forward to this movie: I rented it on a whim off Comcast On-Demand, which did not disclose that this movie was written by the Coens. I most certainly would not have rented it had I known. Instead, I was wooed by the promise of a comedy + Colin Firth and even sprung for the HD version.

Despite my negative lead-up, I wasn't disappointed in my choice. Yes, Cameron Diaz has possibly the worst Texas accent I can remember (what else would you expect from the Coens, who create caricatures instead of real people), but listening to Alan Rickman talk is enough for me to overlook it. [I mean seriously, his voice should be on every navigational system - "I said, turn right, you moron."] And seeing Colin Firth as anything but Mr. Darcy was a little disconcerting at first, but ultimately refreshing.

The movie has a bit of a Dirty Rotten Scoundrels feel to it and I spent the entire movie trying to determine who was scamming whom. It's not quite as good as Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, but really, who can live up to Steve Martin? 

Final word: With the exception of X-Men fans who were likely confused while watching this, it was relatively entertaining.

June 1, 2014

First Annual Snarky Awards

In celebration of Snarky Movie Reviews turning two, I have decided that traditional awards cannot encapsulate all the movies I watch over the course of a year - especially the bad ones. And since these are my own awards, I've decided make my picks from the movies I've watched over the last 12 months, not just movies that were released in that time period.

This is me, pretending to be happy about having sat through so many terrible movies I can actually give out awards

This turned out to be one of those cases where I wanted to hand out an individual award to each and every bad movie I watched, but people seem to get enough of that between the Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards, People's Choice Awards, SAG Awards, Saturn Awards... you get the picture.

Ultimately, I decided to model restraint and chose only five awards:

The Monster Award 

for the actor who made him/herself ugly in an attempt to be taken more seriously

Ryan Gosling, The Place Beyond the Pines

The Katherine Heigl Award 

for the actor who attempted to single-handedly ruin a movie 

Jodie Foster, Elysium

The New Year's Eve Award 

for the worst ensemble cast movie

35 & Ticking

The Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Straight-to-DVD Award 

for the worst movie you've never heard of

Playing for Keeps

And finally....

A movie so terrible I decided to name the entire award after it. So without further ado...

The White House Down Award

for a movie so terrible it was hilarious

White House Down, of course. 

It's going to be tough to top that last one next year.

**If anyone has recommendations for categories next year, feel free to send them to me!