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(500) Days of Summer Review

Now that September 1st is looming on the horizon and my Netflix DVDs are doomed to disappear, I’ve been racing through my queue trying to watch as many movies as I can. I picked (500) Days of Summer because I heard lots of good things about it when it came out two years ago. I never got around to seeing it until now, but I’m glad I did. It was very…different. But an enjoyable kind of different.

I didn’t really know what to expect when I saw this movie because I literally knew nothing about it, other than that it did well when it was released. I think what made this movie great is that it was so real. Yes technically it’s categorized as a romantic comedy, but this movie digs in deeper to the real, human emotions we all go through in relationships – both the good and the bad.

If you didn’t already know the meaning of the title of the movie, you will know five minutes in, so I’ll just tell you now. 500 days of summer doesn’t refer to the season but rather a girl that the protagonist, Tom, meets named Summer. It’s a story about their relationship, and it is told in a very unique way. The story skips from day to day unchronologically. Being an editor myself, I love to see this kind of stuff in movies. Film is a great medium to control time, and can be very powerful when done correctly. This movie executed it very well, using it to bring tension and meaning to the film.

The characters were…interesting. Tom is a very relatable character – just another guy looking for love. Summer is very quirky, almost reminding me of a much more mature Juno. Although her character was just a bit too strange to be completely believable, she embodied how frustrating and confusing women can be when it comes to relationships. This was another point about the movie that struck me because it is a romantic comedy from a male point of view. Tom finds himself constantly frustrated with Summer’s on-and-off antics, but at the end of the day he still loves her and just wants to be with her. It was definitely interesting to see a relationship through a male’s eyes, and it’s a nice change from the typical boy-meets-girl kind of story.

On a technical note, they did some shots that were in split screen that we pretty cool. Some of them were just kind of artsy and unnecessary, but there was one particular scene that was really amazing. Usually I really don’t like split screen because it’s so distracting, but when it is used to actually convey something, it’s pretty amazing.

Despite some definite “wtf” moments in this movie, I liked it overall. It’s not exactly a romantic comedy, but you will get some good laughs. It’s not exactly a happy, pick-me-up movie, but if you want something unique and deep to watch, add this to your queue. Or, post-September 1st, go out and rent it.

 

I think I’m actually going to miss Netflix DVDs…

Kiley ❤

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Friends With Benefits Review – Comedy of the Summer

Usually I wait for comedies to go to DVD before I see them because you don’t get a whole lot out of it on the big screen. However, Friends with Benefits looked absolutely hilarious, not to mention the two amazing leads – Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake.

Let me get the obvious statement out of the way – Mila Kunis is, in the words of Toby Turner, hototototototototototot. If that isn’t reason enough to see this movie, I’ve got plenty more.

I really adored this movie. I had a smile on my face the entire time. The characters were interesting, relatable, and most of all, fun! I really think Justin and Mila had great chemistry. They played very well off of each other and it just worked. Excellent choice of actors – directing is 90% casting!

Yes this movie is technically a romantic comedy, but it’s great because it’s a bit different. It has much fewer over-the-top cheesy moments, and there’s a lot of self-referential humor. The marketers did a great job at snagging the male audience too – a romantic comedy that has less girly qualities and a whole lot of sex.

The writers did an excellent job. There were so many laugh-out-loud funny moments in places you wouldn’t expect them. Witty, dialogue-based humor is my personal favorite. Sadly, I feel like there aren’t enough of those in American cinema. However, this movie was a great comedy. Definitely not a forgettable kind of movie like so many other comedies these days.

Friends with Benefits is a great date movie. It’s light-hearted, cute, fun, and has plenty of “awwwwwww” moments. And of course, two stunning (in every way :P) lead talents. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a good laugh the next time you hit the theaters.

 

Have fun!

Kiley ❤

Buried Review – Surprisingly Good

When I saw the trailer in theaters for Buried, I had very little interest in seeing it. With no footage at all from the movie and letting me know only that someone was buried alive, it didn’t grab my attention. After it was gone from theaters, I heard some good things about it from friends at school. I also heard that the entire movie was located in the box the main character was buried in. My curiosity of the vitality of such a simply shot movie finally got me to put it on my queue.

I was definitely surprised by how great this movie was. I love psychological, stressful, tension-building movies. Creating tension in films is a delicate art, and this movie executed it very well. Yes, the entire 90-something minutes was shot inside of a box, but every moment was still incredibly engaging.

I applaud the creative cinematography. It takes some serious skill to make a tiny box exciting on film, but this movie managed to do it. The entire movie was made for about $3 million and took home about $18 million at the box office. This movie was GREAT investment-wise. Very brilliant to take a cheap concept-based movie and turn it into huge profit. That being said, it really is more than a concept movie. It’s pretty intense and it’s worth seeing for more than just the craftsmanship.

Ryan Reynolds was a great actor as well. It’s nice to see him doing something outside of the usual romantic comedy genre. It’s weird to see him in such a serious, grungy role but he played it very well. There’s not much to say about the writing, pretty basic and clear. There were a couple weird transitional shots that didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the movie, but that’s just me being picky.

Overall this movie was pretty good. If you’re not into psychological thriller-type movies, it’s probably not for you. If you are though, this should definitely be on your list of movies to see. I recommend film students watching it as well because it’s a great example of how to take a very small, short, and simple story and evoke powerful emotions, creating an engaging film that is just as good as it’s much pricier counterparts.

 

Sometimes, simple is best.

Kiley ❤

Harry Potter 7 Part 2 Review – The End of an Era

Yesterday I finally made my first summer trip to the movie theater to see the last Harry Potter movie. Like many people, I had that same bittersweet feeling of “ZOMG it’s so good” and “holy crap it’s all over.” I’m definitely gonna miss waiting in line for the next book/movie. I grew up with the series, just like the rest of us who followed along, and it was certainly a MAGICAL journey.

As far as the movie goes – I got what I came for. I could go all film student-y on it, but I’m not going to because I love the series too much. I’ve gotta say, the magic fight scenes were BADASS. I don’t really know what was different from the book, but I also really don’t care. People that whine about movies being different from their paper-and-ink counterparts need to get over it. Movies and books are two entirely different artistic mediums, obviously they’re not going to be the same.

As always, it was shot really well. It’s amazing to see the transition from the first time we see Hogwarts all bright and happy to this movie where everything is grey and bleak. Despite the dragging along at the beginning, most of the movie was packed with the epic fight scenes we were all waiting to see.

Also – I think I hate the epilogue more in the movie. I seriously wanted to rip those 7 pages out of the book when I read them. I was cringing the entire five minutes the epilogue was playing. I sense a bad spin off in the near future. But who knows, J.K. Rowling is quite talented, as long as she doesn’t let it get to her head. I’d hate to see her become the next Stephanie Meyer.

Mischief Managed!

Kiley ❤

Invention of Lying Review

I finally got around to watching Invention of Lying. I have a terrible habit of getting Netflix DVDs and letting them sit around for weeks before watching them, but anyways!

Invention of Lying is definitely one of those heavily concept-based movies. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like – it’s a satirical movie depicting what the world would be like if no one could lie. It was definitely interesting – you quickly realize how much of the time we don’t tell the truth.

This is a British movie, so if you don’t enjoy British humor, you won’t like it at all. It’s a bit slow paced and definitely drags near the end, but it’s just a different style of film-making. The directing/acting bothered me a bit, but I know it’s just because the film was creating a world without subtext, which is pretty bland IMO.

I enjoyed it though, definitely got a good laugh out of it. The film kind of wanders and you never really know where it’s going, so it keeps you on your toes even through the more dull parts.

Overall, I think I’d give it a 3/5. I liked it, definitely didn’t love it though. But if you’ve got a knack for British films, I’d definitely add this to your list of movies to see!

 

everyone secretly loves subtext,

Kiley ❤