Saturday, January 28, 2012

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (Review)

You probably know Libba Bray from A Great and Terrible Beauty or Going Bovine.
When her latest offering, Beauty Queens, came out, I was more than a little  hesitant. The last book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy wasn't very good, and was a little bit too into it's message. However, the audio book was in the library, and I figured I had nothing to lose.
While the first few chapters are hilarious and a little heartbreaking, and the audio (Read by Libba Bray herself) was entertaining, it went a bit off after that.
For instance, Beauty Queens became less of a satirical play on the exaggerated behavior of the Miss Teen Dreamers, as a perky, gun-toting, Texan, named Taylor calls them and more of a sermon on why it's ok to be everything you want to be, unless it's a Christian. Or a Republican.
For instance, Petra, Miss Rhode Island, is actually J.T. Woodland from Boyz Will B Boyz, Bray's fictional take on everyone's childhood boy band. He/She has decided to get a sex change and is in the middle of taking hormones and was going to use the pageant money to get the surgery done.
Look, I don't care if you're character is LGBTQ  (Example: I loved John Green's/David Leviathan's Will Grayson, Will Grayson). I don't agree but if it's a good book, I'm not going to put it down.  But it's when the characters get preachy that it starts to make me uncomfortable. Libba Bray isn't so much writing a satire on brainless beauty queens as pushing her political agenda. And again, you've got your own political views, that's your view, not mine. But it's when you start shoving it down my throat that I'm not going to deal with it. And while I do agree with some of the points Libba makes in the book (Girl shouldn't be sorry about having an opinion, beauty pageants are demeaning in a lot ways, pageants parents are even more demeaning), but it felt so hypocritical and  in your face that I couldn't deal with it.
Also, even the feminist-to-a-fault Adeena throws that to the wind when TV show pirates show up on the Island. Then everyone starts having explosive sex or whatever. Honestly, I didn't finish the book and looked up reviews to gather what happens.
Altogether, this one is a mess in a pageant dress.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Why 3-D Bothers Me

Let me tell you a lovely little story of a girl who likes movies. A lot.
This girl also gets sick in 3-D movies because it makes her dizzy.
The girl's family took her to see Hugo with her younger sister. She wanted to see the movie more than she wanted to see the next episode of Doctor Who, which is saying something, I can assure you.
Unluckily, the girl's family forgot about her getting sick in 3-D movies and bought very very expensive tickets to the 3-D version.
The girl had to sit there in the theater and listen to the movie, because she couldn't look at the screen for fear of vomiting all over her boots.
And of course, this all happened to me.
And I was very upset.
But here's the thing: Why is everything in 3-D? People ask me this question a lot when they hear me go on about the brilliance of Aaron Sorkin and stuff like that.
And here's the answer:
Do you all remember Avatar? Not the airbenders, the blue people. The movie sucked. But anyway, do you remember when the 3-D trend started? Well, if you don't, the whole reason we're in this mess is because of Avatar.
I think the main reason why 3-D is so popular is not because it "enhances the movie" (I've seen more than a fair share of movies in 2-D that I could tell had no effects that would pop off the screen. I'm looking at you Pirates 4 and Dawn Treader).  It's a money thing. Like I said, I saw the grand total on the  Hugo tickets, and it was about fifty bucks for four people to go see a 3-D movie.
So Hollywood, can we end this? Please? For my sake and many others?


Monday, January 9, 2012

Golden Globe Predictions

So the Golden Globes are mostly a joke in my mind. I don't know what it is about them, but they don't impress me. Like last year, The Tourist, which I'll admit I didn't see but didn't think would be any good either, made their best picture list. It was a questionable decision either way. But anyway,  here's some predictions I have. Oh, and I haven't seen a lot of these movies so I'm merely predicting based on a lot of opinions I gathered from fellow film enthusiasts.

Best Motion Picture - Drama
The Descendants
The Help
The Ides Of March
War Horse

What I want to Win: The Help, simply because the film drove me to tears and it was actually good. Maybe even better then the book, I'm not sure yet.

What will end up winning:  Eh, probably Huge, Moneyball, or War Horse.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis – The Help
Rooney Mara – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep – Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton – We Need To Talk About Kevin

Who I want to win: Viola Davis who was the only one of I saw out of the bunch.
Who will end up winning: I think Viola David has a good shot, but I heard Rooney Mara was good playing the messed up Lisbeth Salander in the equally messed up Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.


Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
George Clooney – The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio – J. Edgar
Michael Fassbender – Shame
Ryan Gosling – The Ides Of March
Brad Pitt – Moneyball

Who I want to win: Brad Pitt, because Moneyball is honestly the only movie I wanted to see out of this (because of Aaron Sorkin writing the script).
Who will win: Michael Fassbender or Brad Pitt.

Best Motion Picture - Comedy Or Musical
The Artist
Midnight In Paris
My Week With Marilyn

(How is The Artist, a silent film, a musical?)

What I want to win: This is a hard one. I'll have to go with My Week With Marilyn though. Because I actually might see it.

Who will win: 50/50, The Artist, or Midnight in Paris.


Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy Or Musical
Jodie Foster – Carnage
Charlize Theron – Young Adult
Kristen Wiig – Bridesmaids
Michelle Williams – My Week With Marilyn
Kate Winslet – Carnage

Who I want to win:  Charlize Theron, because if Diablo Cody trusts her, I trust her. Or Michelle Williams because I might actually see my week with  Marilyn, plus, I've heard her performance is spot on.
Who will win: Kristen Wiig (whom I love, but I didn't see Bridesmaids) or Carlize Thereon.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy Or Musical
Jean Dujardin – The Artist
Brendan Gleeson – The Guard
Joseph Gordon-Levitt – 50/50
Ryan Gosling – Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Owen Wilson – Midnight In Paris

Who I want to win: Joseph Gordon-Levitt without a doubt.
Who will win: Jean Dujardin, whom I wouldn't mind winning at all, or Ryan Gosling, because his abs could persuade anyone to vote for anything. Fangirl moment over.
 Best Foreign Language Film
The Flowers Of War (China)
In The Land Of Blood And Honey (United States)
The Kid With A Bike (Belgium)
A Separation (Iran)
The Skin I Live In (Spain)

I didn't see any of these films, and the only one I even know anything about is The Skin I Live In, so my money is on that one.
Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Berenice Bejo – The Artist
Jessica Chastain – The Help
Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer – The Help
Shailene Woodley – The Descendants

Who I want to win: Jessica Chastain or Berenice Bejo. 
Who will end up winning: Berenice Bejo
Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Kenneth Branagh – My Week With Marilyn
Albert Brooks – Drive
Jonah Hill – Moneyball
Viggo Mortensen – A Dangerous Method
Christopher Plummer – Beginners

Who I want to win: This is weird, because out of the five films, I could honestly live with all of them, but I honestly love Jonah Hill, so maybe he'll just make it.
Who will end up winning: Kenneth Branagh, which again, I'm ok with.

Best Director - Motion Picture
Woody Allen – Midnight In Paris
George Clooney – The Ides Of March
Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist
Alexander Payne – The Descendants
Martin Scorsese – Hugo

Who I want to win: Michel Hazanavicius, because he had the guts to put out a silent film in 2011
Who will end up winning: Martin Scorsese, which is fine by me, because I had to sit in a theater and LISTEN (long story) to Hugo and I still liked it.

Who do you think is gonna win stuff? Let me know.