Movie Reviews: Lost in Translation

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Lost in Translation directed by Sophia Coppola

Like many people, certain movies hit me at the exact right moment in my life that otherwise would have been received differently if watched a decade earlier, or a decade later.

Some define these films as guilty pleasures. I personally think this is a misnomer. There is a difference between a movie that doesn’t age well, but you give it a pass later on and a movie that is superb and hits you at the right moment. To me, The Last Starfighter is a guilty pleasure (theme song still kicks ass).

I watched this movie shortly after college after I took a trip to Japan and South Korea. It marked the breakout of Sophia Coppola for those who didn’t catch the Virgin Suicides. It was the continued renaissance of a more subdued Bill Murray, and Scarlett Johansson before she became an Avenger.

I love how this film demonstrates how much can be said with just visuals. The first ten minutes might be “slow” to some, but was perfect for me. It set the tone and pace and showed both main characters lost and disconnected in their environments. The relationship that builds throughout the movie appears real as a result. There is no lame three act romance structure. There are no lame best friend sidekicks. People are trying to figure shit out and that’s what happens in life.

For those of you that still complain about the whisper, well, you simply didn’t pay attention to the movie.

All the hints are there.

 

Book Reviews: Replay by Ken Grimwood

 

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Replay by Ken Grimwood

If you ask me what the greatest time travel story of all time is I would say Army of Darkness, because in my opinion, that is how you tell a time travel story. But that was a movie. If you ask me the second greatest time travel movie, I would say Groundhog Day.

Boomsticks and Bill Murray aside, if you specifically asked me what the greatest time travel book I’ve ever read is, I would say Replay by Ken Grimwood. The story is about a 43 year old named Jeff Winston who goes back in time 25 years to replay his life over and over. Pretty awesome concept, right? Well, not if you do it over and over and keep watching everything you love and want to disappear. This becomes torture of the Quantum Leap spectrum.

About 90% of the book was a great read. The ending was a bit contrived and ambiguous but how else was he expected to stick the landing? Does he kill them all? Does he let them all live? Or does he do something in middle. What is a writer to do?

My favorite part of the book was the first iteration where  Jeff lets go and has fun in old Las Vegas.  It was almost like answering the big what if of his life. He got answers, but it didn’t fill his soul. This is what I like about the book. It wasn’t a clear answer of the best life is the life you live now. It is as random as life is.

Book rating: 9/10

CHECK OUT WHAT I CONSIDER THE GREATEST GRAPHIC NOVEL OF ALL TIME

Movie Reviews: Aloha

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Aloha directed by Cameron Crowe

The poster says it all on why I even bothered watching the movie. Cameron Crowe directed Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous and has been living off of that for the rest of his life. Elizabethtown pretty much destroyed Orlando Bloom’s career as a romantic lead and put the nail in the coffin on Kirstin Dunst’s career. Tom Cruise is a big enough star to survive Vanilla Sky (a remake that shouldn’t have been remade) although there were some shaky couch-gate years after. Matt Damon had enough star power to survive buying a zoo.

The script does have its moments. Most notably, the unspoken bro code was endearing in a certain way. The rest of it was a bit contrived with borderline non-sensical moments. A part Hawaiian F-22 pilot who takes new guests to their hotel on a prop plane? Emma Stone is nice, but why not just write out the whole part-Hawaiian thing? It’s not as if it contributed to the plot in anyway. Bradley Cooper not knowing he has a long lost daughter? What kind of mother is Rachel McAdams? All of this, while Bill Murray is plotting to take over the world like a bond villain?

Cameron Crowe has a knack for people with a crisis of conscience. Bradley Cooper playing an ex-military, now government contractor who questions what is right and wrong is kind of like Jerry Maguire in a way. The problem is the movie is trying tell five or six different stories at once. Putting together two of the stories would have simplified it a little bit. Maybe if it was just Bradley Cooper on a layover to meet the ex and finding a resemblance with his daughter it would work better. Maybe it was Bradley Cooper uncovering a plot by an evil villain it would have been more clear it was a suspenseful movie. Or maybe if it was just him and Emma Stone meeting at a resort, and watching the romance bloom over an hour it could have worked.  Or maybe if it was a story about Hawaii and trying to get permission to use a piece of land.  I don’t know. The location is beautiful, so I can only imagine the possibilities of what a better script could have done that didn’t waste the talent of many people.

GUEST REVIEW: “HAWAIIAN WOMAN”

Too much has been written about the graceful and intelligent Emma Stone and her portrayal as a part Hawaiian woman flying F-22s for the Air Force. As a Hawaiian woman, I was extremely pleased with both the accurate look of her and her inner ability to channel the Hawaiian woman. When I first heard about the “wide net” casting call that Cameron Crowe did, I knew deep down he would nail it and stick the casting of this part. Once look at Emma Stone and I practically imagine her leading a “Luau” in honor of Hollywood. 

Movie Rating: 2/10 (Worse than Elizabethtown)