Genre Grandeur – Love Actually (2003) – Snap Crackle Watch

This is my first time participating in Rob’s Genre Grandeur series woo hoo! Here is my entry for the holiday movies theme.

Originally posted on Movierob:

Love Actually
Written and Directed by Richard Curtis

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This month Rob’s Genre Grandeaur series takes on holiday movies. I chose one that I love turning on during the holidays, it helps get me in the spirit and it is one of those films that is perfect to have playing in the background as I wrap presents. Now imagine that moment, Christmas movie playing in the background, beautiful tree all lit up, lights all over the house, stockings hung up, now do you feel the cheesiness oozing out of that moment? If so, then that is exactly how you will feel after watching Love Actually.

The film is directed and written by Richard Curtis, who also made the romantic comedies, Four Weddings and A Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Notting Hill. This film falls perfectly in with his other ones; it’s as if the moment when Bridget Jones realized she always loved Marc Darcy, the guy who wears the corny Christmas sweater, was made into a movie.

Love Actually features many different characters that are all going through different phases of love in their life. Each story is interwoven on top of another and all the characters seem to connect in one way. The movie opens with aging rocker Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) who is recording a Christmas song and he can’t seem to get it right and he admits openly that he hates his new song. Being a famous person, he has come to realize has left him all alone.

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Daniel (Liam Neeson) is a recently widowed father left to take care of his son Sam (Thomas Sangster). He is friends with Karen (Emma Thompson) who is married to Harry (Alan Rickman). He has an assistant Sarah (Laura Linney) who is hopelessly in love with her co-worker (Karl Rodrigo Santoro). Another one of his co-workers has a thing for him and throws herself at him every opportunity she gets. Emma’s brother is the Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) who is secretly in love with Natalie (Martine McCutcheon), the woman who brings him tea and the office assistant. She bumbles and gets flustered at his presence and he secretly has a huge crush on her.

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Juliet (Keira Knightly) and Peter (Chiwetal Ejiofor) just got married and his best friend Mark (Andrew Lincoln) is secretly in love with her. The whole time she thought he didn’t like her, but he has been secretly pining for her. Yes, that is our beloved Rick Grimes looking all fresh faced, sweet and adorable.

One of the waiters at the wedding is a young guy who believes that if he moves to the US, then he will get lucky in love because all American chicks dig dudes with accents. This guy makes getting laid in England seem almost hopeless and I hope that is not the case for all our UK dudes out there.

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These main stories all intersect one another. Every story or vignette is also interspersed with Christmas or love songs, from Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is you” to “All You Need Is Love.” There is not a moment that goes by that a song is playing in the background, this only adds to make the movie more heartfelt and cheesy.

The film centers on many of the characters showing big acts of love, from first kisses in front of millions of people a la the Prime Minister to guys revealing giant note cards that say, “To me you are perfect” for the gal they admire the most. The film counts down the weeks till Christmas, slowly revealing various moments of love throughout the week.

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One of my favorite scenes is when Daniel and his little boy are watching Titanic, that momentous scene where Jack and Rose embrace on the ship playing in the background; he tells his son that there isn’t just one person for you out there. Not only was he giving him advice, in a sense it was a note to himself that he too could find love again.

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The movie has its downsides, some of the scenes feel superfluous and corny, but what can you truly expect from a Christmas movie. In order to show us so many of these characters and their stories, it’s hard to figure out what was the main narrative of the entire film. There were many other characters, Martin Freeman as the sex scene actor and Colin Firth as the writer, I did not even mention because they were pretty much pointless.  It’s almost as if the director wanted to show us so much and ran out of time. Had he cut out a few of the stories, it may have been a little more cohesive.

Love Actually was never considered an Oscar worthy film, nor did it garner any accolades, but it has stood the test of time and every year it is played during Christmas because it is a sweet story that doesn’t cut to deep and is fun to watch at the surface level. The running theme of finding and keeping love is something people can always relate to and never gets old. Tender moments are balanced out with funny scenes like the Prime Minister dancing around his house to “Jump for My Love.” Regardless for all its’ silliness it is a worthy movie to watch over the holidays and put you in the Christmas spirit.

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}}Melissa

Movie Review: Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar (2014)
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Written by Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan

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At the root of humanity is love. It can be said that is the driving force that moves people to shape the world and move it forward for every generation and mankind. In Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, he once again gives audiences a mind-bending film that weaves in both themes of the nature of humanity and science fiction, all while toying with the idea of the possibility of a new Earth.

The story is about an ex-NASA pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) who has returned to his roots as a farmer, trying to grow corn which is imperative to helping the sustenance of human beings. He is a widowed man and a father to two young pre-teens Murph (Mackenzie Foy) and Tom (Timothee Chalamet). Together they live with his father in law Donald (John Lithgow), who is aging and cannot do as much work on the farm as others.

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The world at this time is running out of food and has become dry, arid and unsustainable to grow practically anything and that is why it is so important for him to farm corn, which scientists believe can help save the world from food shortages. Not only does the future look bleak for mankind, but it is also engulfed in daily dust storms, which only further harms the health of human beings. The time is almost reminiscent of the post-WWI era in which dust bowls dominated the United States and caused droughts and famine.

Cooper regardless of living a life as a farmer, has remained thirsty for scientific knowledge and discovery, it can almost be felt that he is unhappy with this life and yearns for something more.  When he happens upon his old NASA associate, Professor Brand (Michael Caine), he is propositioned when he least expects it and is asked to lead a mission. Cooper asks how they could have chosen him when they didn’t even know where he was, but Professor Brand insists he is the right one for the mission.

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He is told that in order for humankind to survive because the plight of the world is much worse than they have been lead to believe, he must leave for three years to search for another world. This will require going through black holes and worm holes in the world, which leaves a lot of problems because with every move they make time in the galaxy differs from time on Earth.

If you are a scientist who studies horology (this was literally a Jeopardy question the other night, I kid you not) or an astrophysicist, then you will totally have no problem understanding the concepts that are put out by the film in regards to time lapses, the relevance of time with gravity and how this affects time in different planes of the galaxy. If not, then this approach that Nolan has chosen will be confusing.

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Murph does not want her father to take on the mission, she feels things that cannot be understood, she is beyond smart, and in fact she is probably a version of Nolan himself, someone who is always thinking, feeling and seeing things that are not known to the average person.

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Cooper takes on the mission and goes off into space with biologist Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway), physicist Romilly (David Gyasi), geographer Doyle (Wes Bentley) and the robots TARS and CASE. What happens in space and the way they come to many realizations about Earth, the galaxies and space travel is equally interesting as it is mystifying.

As Cooper is gone, we find out what is happening down on Earth through the characters of his children who are now grown up, since so much time has passed in space. Murph, both young and her older version (Jessica Chastain) are the most fun to watch on screen. Murph is rebellious in nature and tenacious to the end and she adds that bit of spark that is missing from many of the characters.

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To behold a film of this level and to able to capture space travel is a difficult feat, Alonso Cuaron did it beautifully with Gravity and Nolan also delivers a film that is breathtakingly gorgeous. Filmed partly with IMAX cameras and film, this only adds to creating images that are both engrossing and detailed, which can be seen when they step onto other planets. The visual effects are equally creative and work well with creating a film that never looks cheap or as if it is all completely fake.

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A few months ago, I saw the French Canadian film Project M, which is very similar in breaching the themes of space travel and saving human kind and the world. Project M was a low budget film, but it was fun to watch and interesting and done in less than 2 hours. Interstellar tackles a difficult topic and takes forever and a day to explain it. I felt like a lot was missing from the story, I wanted to know more about what happened with Earth to create this famine and more of what was going on with other planets.

I liked the idea of utilizing the theme of love to people to create new beginnings and to save the world. I think it was a major topic of the film and would have liked to have seen it go even deeper, specifically with the character of Amelia and even with adult Murph.

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What tripped me up with film, is the story, it just went way to deep, into a point that was difficult to understand. For a lover of Nolan films and someone who understands these movies, I get it to a certain level, but to the average movie goer, this movie could turn into a snooze fest. Literally, I looked over and my husband was feeling sleepy during the film. I found myself even getting a bit bored and hoping the conclusion would soon come fast. Many parts of the film, even felt like fluff or filler. I believe the pacing of the film is partially to blame and had it sped up a bit and some parts been cut out that would have made it better.

My fave characters had to be Murph as a child, she was interesting and sweet in comparison to others and TARS the robot, was quirky and funny and his interactions with Cooper gave the film a sense of lightness with a topic so dark and brooding.

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McConaughey did a great job in the film, he pretty much carried it and he conveyed emotion and strength perfectly. Caine did a great job as the professor and outshined many of the others. Everyone else was good, I mean can you say that Chastain and Hawthaway are not great actresses? Nope they always deliver, I just felt that they didn’t really pop on screen like they usually do. The star of the film had to be Foy who played the young Murph, she stood tall against heavyweight actors and I am sure she will be one to watch in the future.

Overall, I thought this movie was beautifully done, creative in every aspect, but the story felt as if it had many holes in it. Now were they immense black holes, not really, but these missing pieces of the puzzle gave us a film that didn’t feel succinct and as great as one would have hoped.

PS…Her are some cute slash funny Interstellar pics

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}}Melissa

Movie Review: Chef (2014)

Chef
Written and Directed by: Jon Favreau
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Watching Jon Favreau’s film Chef, almost felt like eating a sumptuous full course meal at a 5 star restaurant. He starts off with the appetizer or an amuse-bouche you could say, laying down the foundation of the story, and providing some funny anecdotes. He then moves on the next course, slowing refining the narrative like a warm soup. From there he moves on the main course, the bread and butter of what is at the heart of the entire movie and finally giving viewers a delicate dessert to top off the experience. What you will not get with this meal is an elaborate, over blown, action film with crazy special effects, so if that is what you are expecting than realize that this is not Favreau’s Iron Man type of movie.

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The film is about a renowned chef in Los Angeles, Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) who is the typical executive chef; he has a big ego and the temperament of an artist. What he lacks in working at a restaurant owned by Riva (Dustin Hoffman), is free reign to cook as he pleases and create dishes that truly inspire him. Molly (Scarlett Johanssen), the restaurant’s hostess and wine sommelier of sorts, sees him as the badass chef that he is and tries to pull that out of him, the best she can. His ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara), a successful woman in her own right, keeps nudging him to open up his own food truck and cook food that he believes in. They see each other because they share custody of their son Percy (Emjay Anthony), who wants to be part of his dad’s world so badly and hates being in the middle. Yet he handles it like any kid born in this millennium, he negotiates with his parents through his iPhone.

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When food critic Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt) comes into his restaurant to eat, Carl comes up with a whole new menu to tantalize him with, but unfortunately Riva will not let him execute it out. Instead he serves what is on the menu every night; it is cooked to perfection, but lacks any imagination or heart. When the review goes out, it crushes him and he takes to Twitter haphazardly and ends up starting a feud with the food critic.

He has his Jerry Maguire moment, where he stands up tall and asks his other chefs to join him, to which the sound of crickets appears. Only one of his line cooks follows him Martin (John Leguizamo) and they take off on a journey, a culinary voyage of sorts to Miami where he decides to finally open up a food truck. He takes his son along for the ride and Percy helps to put his dad on the map as a revived culinary star by using social media in a really smart way. He takes to Twitter, Vine and Instagram and gains a whole new following. Kids these days are much smarter and tech savvy then generations before them and this is apparent through Percy.

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What ensues from here is fun to watch and the viewer gets to go along with Carl as he not only rediscovers himself as a born-again chef de cuisine, but as the father he was always wanted to be. The relationship and bonds that form over food are endless and that is what truly is at the heart of this story.

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I loved watching him cook the food, perfectly stacking the pieces, to create a beautiful dish. When he made a grilled cheese for his son, he didn’t just make a basic one with white bread and Kraft cheese. Instead he uses an ooey-gooey fancy cheese on top of artisan bread, perfectly made on his grill, with edges that look crisp and browned and a sandwich that looks heavenly. Now who wouldn’t want a dad who is a professional cook?

I also liked seeing a movie that seemed to embody what chefs today have become, some are almost exalted to rock star status with hip new restaurants and have the swagger and tattoos to boot. With the character of Molly, it is evident that she sees his potential and his passion for food seems to turn her on to the point that she is almost a food groupie. What better food groupie (no, not the fruit and vegetables food group kind) to have then her, even though she was in the movie only sporadically she was just as vibrant and sexy as I have ever seen her.

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Favreau worked with one of the most famous food truck chefs, Roy Choi, to learn the ropes of running a truck and being a chef. Choi made it a point to show him how real kitchens look and the care for the details are evident in the film. In an interview with LA Eater magazine, Favreau says he took into account the first thing that Choi said to him, “’When a chef sees a bag of shallots he gets excited because they know they’re going to get to peel them all,” and I really think the essence of that sentence alone was captured in the feeling of the film.

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The story was warm and thoughtful and I really enjoyed the simplicity of the film. Yes, we know that Favreau can make entertaining films like Iron Man, but he is also able to push that away and create something that is simple and fun to watch. This film turned out just right, simple, fresh and with a focused story. If you are a foodie, then you will drool over this film or if you are just in the mood for a heartfelt comedy try this one on for size.

}}Melissa

November TV Favorites

November is already upon us friends, what the hell is going on, time is flying so fast and before you know it the New Year will be here! This past month was quite lazy for me, I have been feeling as I mentioned before so overwhelmed with everything that November was rather drab. I caught up on reading a lot, literally immersing myself and I will mention the books as a fave below, plus I want to prove to you guys that I just don’t watch TV all day because I swear I do other things! I just have a really on point schedule with my shows and my husband is worse than me and he pushes me to finish and binge watch. Yes, I just totally did that female thing and blamed him (haha). How were your holidays? Do tell! And for everyone else around the world, I commend you for saving the lives of so many turkeys out there.

Oh yes, I wanted to mention, I have a cousin Sebastian, who just started on WordPress. His blog is MyMovieVerse, so please check  him out and support another movie lover.

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Resurrection: Season 2 (ABC)
Not sure if anyone else out there is watching this show, so if you are I would love to discuss. I also hope that other people are watching because I do not want this to get cancelled. I need to know how it all ends. A quick synopsis if you don’t know, this show is centered on the town of Arcadia, Missouri, where people who were once dead, have returned home. They seem to be alive and well, they know who they are and how they died, but why they have returned they do not know. Can you imagine a dead ex-gf who killed herself coming back to town? Umm hello, mood spoiler for your current gf and yes that happened on the show. What about that annoying brother or mother in your life who always nagged at you, yup they come back too.

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Season 2 is focused again on going even deeper into the “returned,” some town’s folk hate these returned people and think they are part of an evil scheme and some are very content with their new found family members and friends. The problem this season is that the returned are getting oddly sick. The main character Maggie Langston (Devin Kelley), is the town doctor and is trying to investigate what is going on with these people, and is very sympathetic towards them and their plight. Agent Bellamy (Omar Epps) is also charged with figuring out what to do with these returned individuals and we are finding out he has many secrets of his own. The doctor’s father and town sheriff, Fred Langston (Matt Craven), is also on the case and has many issues because not only has his mother returned, but also the wife who was cheating on him. So much is going on with different families and it is pretty fun to watch. There are many familiar actors on here like Frances Fisher, Kurtwood Smith (that 70’s show dad), Michelle Fairley (Stark momma), and they add a good mix to the show. This is no HBO created drama, but it is nonetheless entertaining.  If you get a chance you can catch season 1 on Netflix right now.

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I think I like this version… haha.

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Top Chef: Season 12 – Boston (Bravo)
Anyone that reads my blog knows I love my Bravo shows. Please Andy Cohen let me work for you! My dream would be to be on his Watch What Happens Live show and dish about all current events, gossip and talk about bitchy stuff and hot guys because that is just the kind of stuff I love. Anyhow, I have been a fan of the Top Chef series since the beginning; in fact one of my favorite lines ever came from Season 1, when Dave Martin yelled at Tiffany Faison and said, “I’m not your bitch, BITCH.” There are so many days I want to say that to people (haha).

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Season 12 brings our contestants to Boston and again we have the same competitions as usual, but this time around I feel that the judges are much meaner. Instead of talking behind their backs about the food, I noticed that they are giving the chef feedback as they eat the food in front of them. This week was actually their infamous restaurant wars episode, which always brings people down and sometimes the best of the best get cut on this round. So far the chefs this season are entertaining and seem like a good group, but honestly not some of the best I have seen. Some seasons have given us chefs like Richard Blais and the Voltaggio brothers, who really just blew everyone away, this round we have a few contenders, but no one that seems absolutely phenomenal. I do like Katsuji Tanabe so far, he is kooky and says weird stuff, I am sure he will be in the running for fan favorite this year. I love Tom Colicchio and his comments and Padma Lakshmi is so sexy and dresses on point and cute, I love seeing her outfits (gosh I am so superficial). Regardless, I am addicted to this crap, so yeah that’s my story and I am sticking to it.

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Game of Thrones Book Series
I spent a lot of time catching up with my reading as I mentioned ealier; I really have been doing more reading than ever. I am now on book 4 of the Game of Thrones series and I can’t wait to be totally caught up when it starts next year.

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Oh yeah, I will finally know all the deets and I have to say if you haven’t read these books, boy does the show do them justice. I felt just as emotional reading all the crazy stuff that happened in seasons 3 and 4, I felt like I was reliving that entire trauma. If you are in the mood for a new series and a fan of the show, then you should give this a shot, but you will have to commit to reading because it’s a lot of books!  I have to give a shout out to Zoe, who inspired me earlier in the year when I first started reading her blog to get back into enjoying books. I know she has done the same for Eric, so we must commend her for being so freakin’ inspirational (damn you Zoe now I have no life!).

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Other shows I loved in November, but I feel I have already mentioned them are:
Homeland: Season 4 (Showtime)
AHS: Freak Show (FX)
Sons of Anarchy: Final Season (FX)

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}}Melissa

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 5, Episode 8: Hostages and High Hopes

The Walking Dead Recap
Season 5, Episode 8
**SPOILER ALERT

This past week, was the mid-season finale for our beloved zombie show. Now did it live up to everyone’s expectation and were we all blown away by the surprise ending? Overall, the season started off with a bang, it was fast paced and fun to watch them get out of Terminus, to find a new place and to see them off wandering again in search of supplies and resources. Finding Beth was at the forefront of every fan’s mind and we got to find out where she was being kept and we have seen her maturation come to fruition. She started off as a sheltered farm girl, progressed to Judith’s babysitter and after hanging out with Daryl for a while, she turned into a full-fledged take no prisoners bad ass.

Then slowly, the show started to dwindle down with too many fillers and the pace slowed down a bit. That has been my biggest gripe with the show, don’t get me wrong I am a total TWD fan and I will continue to watch this to the bitter end, but I really get annoyed by so many filler moments and how situations get dragged the hell out. Regardless of my little rant, I still enjoy watching, I just hope it picks back up and the pace gets heightened a bit more when the show comes back on in February.

Let’s get to the juicy bits, and no not Bob’s leftover leg and talk about what happened.

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