You’ve Got Mail

A classic 90’s romance. But really more then that. I recently read Buzzfeed post that had some completely unfounded and biased opinions about it that I finally had to rewatch the movie and, I’m happy to say, the post was completely and utterly wrong. This movie has more depth and insight into the human soul then almost any romance I’ve ever watched (including, Sleepless in Seattle). The characters are flawed individuals who have back-stories and complicated lives. The two main leads show how complicated real love is.

The movie is about man and woman who have met online and been emailing one other for a while; but their real lives are mysteries to one another. They’re friends who share little tidbits of their souls, somewhat becoming anchors for each other. In real life though their lives are unknowingly about to collide. Catherine is a small bookstore owner. Joe owns a bookstore monopoly (like Barnes and Noble). When Joe starts building only a block away from Catherine’s bookstore, it threatens her business. Their lives collide.

MILD SPOILERS:

Although it would be a rarity if you hadn’t seen this movie yet, if you want to remain surprised, read not ahead.

I think the movie was brilliant, though. It showed love in some really interested aspects. For one, Joe and his girlfriend. This has a lot of layers. It’s clear from the beginning that the relationship really doesn’t have a lot to it. He’s just going through the motions. What becomes clear as the movie goes on is that the reason he’s in the relationship is because of his dad. His dad wasn’t much for romance but continuously got married and divorced over and over again. Joe grew up with that (as the bulk of the wives had been his nannies) and was just going through the motions just like his dad. It’s probably what he thought he was supposed to do. His girlfriend was also not that great. She was selfish and conceited.

On the other hand, Catherine and her boyfriend were going through similar motions. He wasn’t a bad guy but you could really feel that there was something missing. They seemed to fit, but it just wasn’t there. Something they both realized.

Then you have the online relationship between Catherine and Joe. I feel like they both went into as the people they wished they were. Catherine had taken over her bookstore from her mom and was really kind of living her mom’s life; it was clear in her writing that she had this fire in her that really wasn’t being met by the bookstore. Joe grew up with people who didn’t care, they were businessmen who were accustomed to flickering out small businesses; he was surrounded by people where money and status were the most important thing. It’s clear though that he really didn’t feel that way. He could do it, but it wasn’t really him. The online relationship between them was where they spoke their souls.

Now, the relationship in real life. Catherine and Joe butted heads and argued. Because in the outside world, they were both playing their parts still. Joe was the big bad businessman and Catherine was the loyal bookstore owner protecting her shop. When Joe realized who Catherine was it made him stop and really think. He had to figure out who he really was. Was he NY152 or was he Joe Fox? He couldn’t stop being Joe Fox, but for the first time he could look past his influences and see that he could also be the man he was online.

Honestly, the story really showcases some great things about relationships. Things about change and being your best person. About accepting hard and sometimes painful life changes, but finding the good in what you have. About fighting for what you want and when to accept defeat. Just remember when you watch the movie, it’s not about fantasy. It’s about two people with flaws finding each other and accepting one another.

Robin Hood: Men in Tights

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This film is another satirical/spoof comedy by Mel Brooks with one of my favorite actors: Cary Elwes (Princess Bride, Liar Liar). I’m usually not big on just comedy movies, but with Mel Brooks’ films it’s different. For one, I grew up with them. They are like old friends. But also there is the fact that they are downright awesome. I’m left breathless with laughter even while I enjoy a story that still has a lot of heart.

Robin: Men in Tights is the same story that we all know. Robin is captured and put in prison during the crusades; when he escapes he returns home to discover things are much changed. Prince John has usurped the throne and has been unfairly taxing the citizens. With the help of his servant, Blinkin, Little John, Will Scarlett and Atchoo (the son of a fellow prisoner he met) Robin Hood starts a war with Prince John and the Sheriff of Rottingham.

One of my favorite parts of this is the song that’s sung by Robin’s merry men, “We’re men in tights”. The musical quality to this movie only adds to the smart humor that subtly and not so subtly mocks adventure and romance dramas. It’s hard to describe the cinematic genius of Brooks, but there is just something about his films that make him stand out against the rest. Whether it’s the fourth wall breaks, the spot-on humor, the spit-fire dialogue or the exemplary story line, Brooks has a style that withstands the test of time and I can’t help but to love every film I’ve seen.

Spaceballs

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You can’t get much better than the satirical genius of Mel Brooks. Despite the obvious comedy and goofiness the film holds a level of cinema that’s seen only in a classic film. For those who aren’t familiar with Brooks he’s a forefront leader in comedic satires; the reason is that he doesn’t abandon the things that make film great just for the sake of a good joke. The actors, dialogue, story and film sets are of a high caliber that allows the audience to thoroughly enjoy his films.
Spaceballs is an obvious spoof of Star Wars and other popular space adventures of the 80s and before. In the film the enemy world of Spaceballs is running out of fresh air and so they plan to steal it from their neighboring planet of Vespa. Dark Helmet plans to steal their Princess to ransom her for the air. The King of Vespa desperate to get his daughter back asks Captain Lone Star for help.
Obviously the plot is quite silly, but it’s done with class. It’s a movie that’s still thoroughly enjoyable to watch without chronic eye-rolling. The actors are good enough that despite even some of the scenes that could level on ridiculous they bring it back strong with great acting. Those scenes go from ridiculous to some of the most repeatable dialogue scenes in geek conversations.

Army of Darkness

 

Nostalgia is what I feel when I see movies like this. I watched cult classics like this all the time when I was younger with my family and even today I still appreciate the oddness of this film. This movie isn’t necessarily a spoof in the strictness of the word, but it certainly isn’t a serious horror/thriller film.

Army of Darkness is the third installment of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead films that were more or less successful, but nevertheless found a strong following as years went by. This film follows Ash, a man who in the Evil Dead awoke evil spirits from the Book of the Dead, lost his girlfriend to the darkness and had to cut off his own hand to save himself from succumbing to the evil. At the end of the Evil Dead 2 he is thrown into a mysterious portal; at the start of this film he finds himself in Medieval Times where the locals are threatened by the same evil as he was.

Now, this movie needs to be taken as its own genre. It’s a sort of Mel Brooke-like film with cheesy, smarmy dialogue and a melodramatic story-line, but it’s those very things that make the film so great. The acting by the awesome Bruce Campbell brings the film a true epic hero feel and even though some of the dialogue or scenes cause reflexive eye-rolls and bemused chuckles it still feels like a real film that has withstood the years and created a strong fan following.

If you decide to watch this film either out of curiosity or a prelude to the new Starz show “Ash vs. the Evil Dead” (which is set after the Army of Darkness) then I suggest going in with an open-mind and a sense of humor; you’ll enjoy it a lot more that way. Might I also mention that Ash uses a chain-saw for his missing hand and a cut off shot gun strapped to his back? You can’t get much cooler than that.

Mad Max: Fury Road

 

So, this movie is a personal favorite. I know, weird, right? Considering my thus far track record of movies and shows that I have reviewed. But I love this movie, the action, the imagery, the graphics, the characters: I mean it is a fully loaded movie that just does not stop! Now, if you have issues with graphic violent material this movie is probably not for you.

I don’t know how many of you may have seen the original Mad Max movies with Mel Gibson but this movie is like those on steroids. It’s probably what they were wanting to achieve back then but were unable due to ‘primitive’ technology with graphics. This movie from step one is boom, boom, boom. It just doesn’t stop moving, but somehow they still manage to scrape up some distinctive characters and story line that has just the right amount of depth for this type of movie.

The premise is honestly way too obscure and even saying anything about anything that happens more than 10 minutes into the film would be giving away spoilers. Pretty much though, Max, a mysterious wanderer of post-apocalyptic Earth, gets taken by some serious crazies that live in this insane fortress. He ends up being strapped to the front of a battle vehicle in a war convoy as they chase down a renegade warrior that has stolen something very important from their leader and thus the story goes on from there. Seriously, though, that’s like only the first ten minutes.

This is a must-see film for anyone who enjoys great cinematography, action, cars, top-of-the-notch graphics and raw acting. Or for anyone who enjoyed the old Mad Max movies.

The Mummy

 

Alright, so this was one of my favorite movies to watch with my family when I was a girl and I’m happy to say I still think it’s awesome! This movie has just about everything that one could hope for in a movie: action, mystery, thrill, romance and a great enemy.

I think my favorite part about this movie is the fact that instead of having some mindless creature, the mummy actually has a back story that is expressed quite wonderfully. The characters are classically distinctive: the American soldier-for-hire, the adventurous librarian, the lazy money-obsessed brother, etc.

The story itself is about Evelyn, a librarian in an Egyptian museum, who discovers a mysterious map to leads to Hamunaptra, the City of the Dead, where she hopes to find the Book of Life. Along with her brother, they enlist the help of O’Connell who says he has been there before. But they all soon realize that the city has more than just ancient artifacts and sand. Something sinister lives there as well. Da-Da-Da-Dum.

This movie may not have the top notch graphics that the last few years have given us, but they aren’t anything to scoff at either. The acting is great and original with classic lines that I still haven’t forgotten as I’ve gotten older: “No harm ever came from opening a book”. The fight scenes in this are pretty bad-ass too.

Definitely a movie I would recommend to anyone: young, old, man or woman.

Jane Eyre (2011)

 

This movie is startlingly beautiful. I’ve seen many films based on classic books, but many fall short to translate the words and emotions into film. This movie isn’t one of them. Based on Charlotte Bronte’s work of the same title this movie is captivating.

For those who haven’t read the book, it’s based on a young governess, Jane Eyre, who has spent the better part of her life being horribly used, put down, and downright abused by the people around her. When she becomes governess for Lord Rochester she is thoroughly closed off to the world, but soon finds herself drawn to the brooding Lord. Filled with mystery, intrigue, darkness the story is something all its own; and is definitely not your usual romantic tale.

The movie captures the book so completely. The soundtrack alone is so in tune to the tone of the story. From there you have the visuals which mimic so completely how I imagined the world being when I read the book. The actors are great. Mia Wasikowska is a great actress and beautiful, but I thoroughly respect the fact that they made her look so plain; she really became Jane Eyre.

Most remakes of books usually keep strictly to the story line, but I really like that they rearranged parts of it to make it into an even better theatrical journey. It really made the story so much better.

Really, though, this is an amazing movie. Truly.