Oscars checklist!

Countdown to the Oscars: 45 days

I went ahead and created a checklist so that you can all keep track of which Oscar-nominated films you’ve seen.  Get the checklist here!  Let me know if anyone has any problems accessing or printing the file.  Now get watching, you have 45 days!

-FJ

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Review: Her

FJ Rating: Big Screener

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Chris Pratt, Rooney Mara

Director: Spike Jonze

R, 2 hr 0 min

Her” tells the story of Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a lonely and heartbroken man who makes a living writing love letters for other people.  While he tries to get over his failed marriage, Theodore becomes fixated with his new operating system, “Samantha” (Scarlett Johansson), and the two eventually form a bond much stronger than friendship.

I will start off by saying I very much enjoyed the film.  Joaquin Phoenix is such a talented actor, and after seeing the film I really understood why people were raving about Scarlett Johansson’s performance.  I will admit that before seeing “Her,” I thought the concept of the movie seemed a little weird and I chuckled when I heard talk about how great Scarlett Johansson was as the voice of Samantha.  I just didn’t get how someone could really call a voice performance Oscar-worthy. However, after seeing the film, I get it.  Scarlett Johansson makes Samantha likable and convincing.  She really does bring Samantha, an operating system, to life.  I found myself hoping that Samantha would somehow come to life in the physical form and that her and Theodore would live happily ever after.

The film just had the right amount of everything.  It made me laugh, it made me sympathize for the characters, and it definitely got me thinking about the influence of technology and what’s to come for the future of the modern world.  The film takes place in a futuristic, not-so-far-down-the-road Los Angeles.  Theodore (and everyone around him) wears an earpiece and carries a device used when needing to see something visually, and with a simple spoken “delete”, an email is magically wiped off his hands.  The film created the future of the modern world as being completely driven by technology, and to be honest, it seemed more realistic than far-fetched (not to say that that isn’t somewhat depressing).  It made me wonder if the world will eventually get to a place where people fall in love with a Samantha.  Scary thought, isn’t it?  The film was great, the acting was great, let’s just hope people continue to fall in love with other people and not operating systems.

EXTRA: Kristen Wiig does the voice of SexyKitten, and Spike Jonze does the voice of the alien in the video game.

Check Fandango to see where “Her” is playing in your area.

Have a great Wednesday, FFLs!

-FJ

Review: Gravity

FJ Rating: Big Screener

Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

PG-13, 1 hr 31 min

Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission.  Teamed with composed veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney), all hell breaks loose when their shuttle is hit by debris.  Losing all communication to Earth, the struggle to return home becomes their newest, most important mission of their lives.

First off, I need to admit that I’m extremely disappointed in myself for not having seen this in IMAX 3D when it was available to me.  Epic fail.  However, I did see it in regular 3D (phew!). I must say, I really enjoyed it.  I was nervous, with my feet up on my chair, hands up near my mouth out of worry, and I even forgot at times that I had a free popcorn waiting for me to munch on (compliments of Marcus Theatres’ Free Popcorn Tuesdays – see below!).

Sandra Bullock’s character is on her first shuttle mission, and although she’s gone through extensive training, I still felt like I was on my first shuttle mission right alongside her.  I felt what she felt – nervousness, worry, frustration, fear.  In my opinion, this role really proved what Sandra Bullock is capable of and I will be shocked if she isn’t nominated for an Oscar (among other awards). Although George Clooney didn’t have as much screen time as Sandra Bullock, the time he was on screen impressed me as much as it possibly could.  The story focuses more on Sandra Bullock’s character anyways, so if you’re planning to see “Gravity” in hopes to see sexy astronaut George Clooney steal the show, don’t get your hopes up.

As for the film itself, critics can go on and on about how certain details of the film weren’t realistic or possible, but I guess I see things in a different light.  I don’t get all technical when watching a film.  I share my opinions based on whether or not the film was enjoyable and the acting up to a certain bar.  If a film is a drama, I want to feel sadness and pain and sympathy while watching it.  If a film is a comedy, I want to laugh and be entertained.  If a film is an action film, I want to be on the edge of my seat and feel my heart beating faster and faster.  These are all the things I take into consideration when giving my opinion of a film.  With that being said, I enjoyed “Gravity.”  I thought the graphics were phenomenal, Sandra Bullock did a great job, and it kept my attention.  I must admit that the film is more graphics than an extensive storyline, so my only piece of advice would be to see “Gravity” in 3D.

MONEY SAVER: Check “Gravity” out while it’s still playing at a Marcus Theatres near you.  Marcus Theatres’ newest promotion lets you see ANY movie for $5 on Tuesdays.  If you want to see a movie in 3D, it’s only a few dollars more.  Not only that, but Tuesdays through December you also get a free 44 oz. popcorn.  That means you could go see “Gravity” in 3D and get a 44 oz. popcorn for next to nothing.  Take advantage of it!

I’m not sure how much longer “Gravity” will be in theatres, so check Fandango to see where “Gravity” is playing in your area.

-FJ

Review: The Book Thief

FJ Rating: Big Screener

Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Sophie Nélisse, Ben Schnetzer, Nico Liersch, Barbara Auer, Rainer Bock, Oliver Stokowski

Director: Brian Percival

PG-13, 2 hr 7 min

Taking place in Nazi Germany during World War II, a young girl (Sophie Nélisse) is sent to live with her new foster parents (Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson).  Through her fascination of stealing books and curiosity with life, the young girl touches the lives of everyone she meets, including the Jewish refugee hiding in the basement of their home.

“The Book Thief” made me laugh, cry, and kept me captivated throughout the entire film.  I thought the acting was phenomenal and the film beautifully done.  Sophie Nélisse is a newcomer you’ll definitely want to keep your eyes on.  The story was touching, heartbreaking, and will make you want to pick up a book (instead of a Nook) again.  Definitely a great film to check out during the holiday season.  I left wanting to go back in the theatre and see it again.

Check Fandango to see when “The Book Thief” is playing in your area.

-FJ

Happy Veterans Day!

First and foremost, Happy Veterans Day to all of the brave individuals who have served for our country.

After watching the Packers lose on Sunday, it’s back to the grind.  Mondays are always long and tiresome, but hopefully this news will cheer all you FFLs up:

For those of you who weren’t aware before, Marcus Theatres used to offer $5 select movies every Wednesday and Thursday.  As awesome as that was, their newest promotion is even more amazing.  Now, Marcus Theatres has a new promotion where ALL movies are only $5 on Tuesdays.  As a bonus, you also get a free 44 oz. popcorn on Tuesdays through December.  I hope all you film lovers take advantage of this deal, I know I’m going to!

Image credit: Marcus Theatres

To keep up with all the latest from Marcus Theatres, follow them on Twitter!

I hope everyone has a great Monday!

-FJ

Happy Friday, FFLs!

What are everyone’s plans for the weekend?  Do they involve checking out “Thor: The Dark World” or “About Time“?  I may try to squeeze in a trip to the movie theatre, but I’m not quite sure I’ll have enough time (I’ll be freezing my ass off at Lambeau Field on Sunday).

Although I would eventually love to check out “About Time,” I have a feeling this will be a Renter*. On the other hand, I would love to check out “Thor: The Dark World” in theatres, so I may have to find some time next week to visit Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman on the big screen.

Hope everyone has a fun and safe weekend!

-FJ

*What’s a Renter?  Big Screener?  Time Waster?  Check out my page FJ Lingo to find out!

Well, hello.

Happy Thursday, soon-to-be Friday (!!!), and first post for Film Junkette.

To give you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, I’ve been wanting to start a film blog for a while.  I’m not quite sure what was holding me back before (maybe I’ve been busy cooking meth in a run-down RV), but I’m glad to have finally gotten this up and running.

FJ (Film Junkette) will be a place to discuss all things film-related: upcoming films, memorable movie quotes, how to host an award show get together, and whatever else I come up with.

Please feel free to suggest an idea for a post, and/or follow me on Twitter!

-FJ