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Binky International Film Festival: Day Eight

Hello and welcome to Day Eight of “Binky International Film Festival“! I can’t believe we actually made it to Day Eight, I thought I was going to be done with this in a week. How wrong can I be. 🙂 And I really hope you are enjoying this series as much as I do. I don’t know if I’m going to make this an annual event yet, but I’m considering it. This was so much fun for me to do, even as I’m battling the flu. Didn’t mean that to rhyme.

Anyway. Today we are going to take a look at some great and not-so-great 2011 comedies with the genre “Laugh It Up”. I love drama as much as the next girl, but my first love will always be comedy. Life is no trip for me, and sometimes I just want to forget my troubles and laugh without any inhibition. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Life is far too important a thing to be taken seriously.” That being said, let’s all take a look at this year’s comedies!

Laugh It Up

30 Minutes Or Less

Opening Weekend: August 12, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 83 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Michael Diliberti. Story by Michael Diliberti & Matthew Sullivan
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson, etc

I usually love slacker comedies, and I always love Jesse Eisenberg, but for some reason I couldn’t really connect with this one. I don’t know why, I guess it’s just really not that funny. Which is a shame because Aziz Ansari is hilarious in Parks and Recreation – and here he’s just kind of meh. Jesse Eisenberg still plays up the old nervous, neurotic schtick but it doesn’t really work here. He’s funny when he’s neurotic when there’s no reason to be. But having a bomb strapped to his chest kind of defeats the purpose. This falls in the “not-so-great” comedy of 2011 for the unmemorable-ness of it all.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Horrible Bosses

Opening Weekend: July 8, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 98 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Seth Gordon & Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldberg. Story by Michael Markowitz
Stars: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, etc

Who knew that little Sam Weir from Freaks and Geeks who later grew up to be cutie Dr. Sweets in Bones would actually be multi-talented as well as easy on the eyes? He wrote this hilarious summer comedy and judging from the box office earnings, and the fact that my brother-in-law scream giggled his way through the movie, Horrible Bosses definitely falls in the pretty great comedy category. All three leads: Bateman, Sudeikis and Day were simply fantastic, backed by a strong supporting cast (which includes Jennifer Aniston! She’s been in the tabloids so much we’ve forgotten she can be funny. Welcome back, Jen Aniston), and laugh out loud lines – this movie is the 2011 comedy you shouldn’t miss. So get to the DVD store (or Netflix) before the year is over!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Take Me Home Tonight

Opening Weekend: March 4, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 97 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Michael Dowse & Jackie Filgo, Jeff Filgo. Story by Topher Grace & Gordon Kaywin
Stars: Topher Grace, Anna Farris, Chris Pratt, Dan Fogler, etc

Critics weren’t so kind with this set-in-the-80s sorta coming of age comedy, but I actually didn’t think it was that bad. It’s not “oh my god this is the greatest thing ever” good but it’s watchable, and it has some really funny parts too. Topher Grace, like Jesse Eisenberg, always nails the nervous, neurotic pasty white guy role, and he’s in his element in this movie. Anna Farris, as always, shows why she’s probably the most underrated comedic actress of the year. And Chris Pratt, her real life husband, plays her jerk (but loving) fiance so perfectly. The story, however, is just so-so and follows the typical “staying up all night” comedy formula, which makes the movie predictable and boring in some parts. But hey, if you have nothing to do on a weekend, there’s no harm in trying this movie out.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Paul

Opening Weekend: March 18, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 104 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Greg Mottola & Simon Pegg, Nick Frost.
Stars: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jason Bateman, etc

This is quite possibly, my favorite comedy of 2011 (along with Bridesmaids), and sadly not many people saw this movie. Maybe it’s because the title is just too vague, or maybe because Americans aren’t as familiar with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as the Brits do, or maybe because of lack of promotion – in any case, it was criminally ignored and I wish to rectify that. Go get Paul on DVD because, even if you’re not a sci-fi geek and you’re not into aliens, it’s still laugh out loud funny. Because Pegg and Frost are always brilliant together, and adding Seth Rogen as the politically incorrect alien, Kristen Wiig as the glass-eyed daughter of Bible-thumpin’ trailer park owner, Jason Bateman and Bill Hader as hapless FBI agents make this movie an insanely funny movie that everyone should watch. So watch Paul. You won’t regret it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Arthur

Opening Weekend: April 8, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 110 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Jason Winer, Peter Baynham. Story by Steve Gordon
Stars: Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Greta Gerwig, Jennifer Garner

Speaking of British imports, Russell Brand may be the one that most international public are familiar with. There’s that whole schtick with the Jonas Brothers a few years ago, and then he married pop star Katy Perry (though rumor has it they’re “having troubles and spending time apart” so who knows how long they’ll last — UPDATE 12/30: Brand just filed for divorce), which made him a household name in both sides of the Atlantic. But that doesn’t mean that all his movies are successful. In fact, in the case of Arthur, it’s kind of a dud. It’s tricky to remake a classic, and it’s even trickier to remake a classic with a comedian like Brandt, who has a polarizing effect on the public. That’s not to say that Arthur is all bad, it has it moments. Sadly, there aren’t a lot of those. However, the soundtrack, produced by Mark Ronson and featuring Ben Gibbard, Daniel Merriwhether and Fitz and The Tantrums, is definitely worth listening to. 😉

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Your Highness

Opening Weekend: April 8, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 102 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): David Gordon Green & Danny McBride, Ben Best
Stars: Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Theroux, etc

This movie seems to have sparked only two reactions: love and loathe. For example, David Edelstein, NY Magazine’s resident film critic loves it. But then a lot of people hate it too. I usually don’t agree with Edelstein (he hates The Dark Knight and Inception, and calls Drive “overrated”) but for some weird reason he and I are in agreement about this one movie. I actually like Your Highness. It’s a screwball comedy done right, I think, and Justin Theroux, who is much much more than just Jen Aniston’s boytoy du jour, is simply delicious as the villain. Is this movie crass? Absolutely. Does it have a coherent plot? Not so much. But is it funny? Yes. Both Portman and Deschanel were delightful, McBride was hilarious and James Franco once again is a delight in his clueless Pineapple Express-y comedic way. I thought it was a fun watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The Change-Up

Opening Weekend: August 5, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 112 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): David Dobkin & Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Stars: Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Olivia Wilde, Leslie Mann, etc

This is another comedy in this list that critics seem to hate, and I don’t exactly fault them. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate this movie, but I understand completely why they did. The problem isn’t in the premise, tired as it may seem this whole Freaky Friday body-swapping thing, nor the actors – both Bateman and Reynolds know how to bring the funny and Mann and Wilde are great sidekicks, but it’s in the fact that the movie tries just a little too hard to be funny. It’s like watching a stand up comedian who’s nervous and tries too hard to make people laugh that he resorts to slipping on a banana peel, when all he needs to do is just tell the jokes and he might actually get some sincere laughs. That’s kinda how this movie feels. It could’ve been actually enjoyable and funny, but it just tries too hard to be and it ends up being not that funny. Shame, really, because it really does have the potential but it just can’t quite get there.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

And that concludes Day Eight of Binky International Film Festival. We only have two more days to go, you guys! I really hope I can finish on New Year’s Eve, but you’ll have to blame Downton Abbey if I don’t because I am still busy devouring both seasons right now. 😉 Don’t worry, I kid. Not about Downton Abbey. We’ll get to Day 10 on the 31st, I promise. But check back in tomorrow, on Day Nine we’ll take a look at this new genre I just invented: “Romance That Makes Me Want To Stick A Fork In My Eye”. I know, it’s a mouthful. But it should be fun, so I’ll see you back here tomorrow!

xoxo

Binky Bee

Binky International Film Festival: Day Three

Hello and welcome to Day Three of “Binky International Film Festival“. Over the past two days, we have reviewed some “Big Budget Awesomeness” and “Sundance Darlings” and today, we are going to concentrate on a genre that is as old as time itself: “Chick Flicks”. Despite being a cynic and a feminist, I have loved romantic comedies since I first saw When Harry Met Sally for the first time back in the sixth grade, and I’m not ashamed of it. 😉 Sure, this genre has declined rapidly over the last decade (where’s Meg Ryan when you need her?) but this year I have seen some improvements. There’s hope for this genre yet. So without further ado, grab your tub of Ben & Jerry’s and let’s dive straight in!

Note: Two of the movies in this post (Country Strong and Waiting For Forever) are not romantic comedies, but since these are the kind of movies that appeal more to women than men, I decided to put them in this category. Also: technically Bridesmaids needs to be in this category as well but since it receives quite a bit of nominations this award season, it’ll be in tomorrow’s “Award Worthy” genre.

“Chick Flicks”

Crazy Stupid Love

 Opening Weekend: July 29, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 118 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Glenn Ficara, John Requa & Dan Fogelman
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, etc

2011 is a great year for one Ryan Gosling. Sure he lost the “Sexiest Man Alive” title to Bradley Cooper (which caused an uproar) but there is no denying that about 99% of women (plus about the same percentage of gay men) on earth want to have sex with him. Myself included. And this movie gives us about 50% of the reason why we all want him (the other 50% is divided between Drive and The Ides of March): he’s a confident, self-assured hottie with a body so perfect Emma Stone’s character accused his abs of being photoshopped. We all want to leave the bar and get straight to bed with him. But enough about Gosling! I think this movie is the best romcom of 2011. Carell is so hilarious, and he and Gosling play off each other so well. If you want to feel all warm and fuzzy while at the same time laugh so hard you nearly pee, you might want to give this movie a try if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it.


Rating: 4 Out of 5 stars

Country Strong

Opening Weekend: January 7, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 117 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Shana Feste
Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Garret Hedlund, Leighton Meester

Two things I learned from watching this movie: one, I totally understand the Gwyneth Paltrow backlash and why people can’t stand her, and two, Leighton Meester can actually sing, you guys, provided that she wises up and embrace the country pop genre for real. No more of those pop dance-y singles, Leighton, stick with what you’re good at. Other than those two things, this movie is kind of meh. It feels more like Gwyneth Paltrow trying to prove she can do it all (act, sing country, act drunk etc), and the best part of the movie is when her character (spoiler alert) dies, and some sweet Hedlund/Meester scenes. The movie is just not that good, period. Color me unimpressed.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

No Strings Attached

Opening Weekend: January 21, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 108 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Ivan Reitman & Elizabeth Merriwhether. Story by Elizabeth Merriwhether & Michael Samonek.
Stars: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher, Jake Johnson, Kevin Kline, Mindy Kaling, etc

Just so you know I’m not exactly a fan of Ashton Kutcher and I always assume that a movie with him in the lead would suck. But luckily, I love Natalie Portman so I gave this romcom a chance and I didn’t regret it. The movie is quite funny, Natalie Portman is just so delightful in it. But then again, after her Oscar-winning turn in Black Swan, did we expect anything less? I also love that even though it followed a certain predictable romcom formula, it doesn’t rely too heavily on the cliches. The scene with Natalie Portman in the car, cry-singing “Bleeding Love” and binging on donut holes – that’s genuinely non-cliche funny. And we women can relate! It has happened to us once or twice, right? So even if you can’t stand Kutcher, I still recommend you check out this flick. It’ll put a smile on your face, seriously.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Friends With Benefits

Opening Weekend: July 22, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 109 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Will Gluck & Keith Merryman, David A. Newman. Story by Harley Peyton, Keith Merryman & David A. Newman.
Stars: Mila Kunis, Jason Timberlake, Woody Harrelson, Jenna Elfman, Patricia Clarkson etc

2011 is a pretty good year for movies, but someone somewhere in Hollywood must’ve screwed up because in the space of less than 6 months, two romcoms with identical premises came out, both with attractive leads and both with the same fast-talking zany humor. And who came out on top? Sorry Mila Kunis, but your Black Swan co-star beats you this time around. Out of the two movies, I like No Strings Attached better, maybe because Friends With Benefits tries a little too hard to be tongue-in-cheek and funny. And by the time the movie came out, flash mobs are so two years ago, no matter how cute Mila Kunis tries to convince you of otherwise.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Waiting For Forever

Opening Weekend: February 4, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 95 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): James Keach & Steve Adams
Stars: Rachel Bilson, Tom Sturridge, Richard Jenkins, Blythe Danner

I think I’m the only one who saw this little seen Rachel Bilson movie, and even though it wasn’t the best romantic film of the year, I actually didn’t hate it. Sure at first I thought Tom Sturridge’s character has mental disabilities or something, especially the way he pines for Rachel Bilson’s character but never once dares to make a move, but then I realized that he’s not, he just chooses to deal with the world in his own childlike way. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It may be naïve but it’s not idiotic. I also like Bilson taking on a more complicated role for once, and she’s pretty good in this movie too. But obviously Gwyneth Paltrow’s mom, Blythe Danner steals the scene. She’s just heartbreaking in this movie and if nothing else, she should be the reason to check out this movie. Trust me.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I Don’t Know How She Does It

Opening Weekend: September 16, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 89 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Douglas McGrath & Aline Brosh Mckenna
Stars: Sarah Jessica Parker, Christina Hendricks, Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, etc

Do you ever wonder why, if a woman is successful at her career, and at the same time is successful at being a wife and mother, people ask “How does she do it?” as if women are expected to just be good at one thing and fail miserably at the other? Well this movie attempts to address this way of thinking, and I think it’s pretty successful in presenting the case that women can in fact do it all and we don’t have to apologize for wanting to be a good mother and a career woman, while not downplaying the hardships than are bound to come from wanting to have it all. The good thing about this movie: it deals with the real issues that working mothers actually deal with. The bad thing about this movie: Sarah Jessica Parker can be grating at times. I would have liked to see Christina Hendricks in the lead role instead of SJP, but that’s just me. All in all, it’s not the best, most inspiring movie about women (0r even the most accurate one, to be honest) but it’s pretty enjoyable nonetheless. And what do you know, Olivia Munn can act after all! She’s actually funny! We do learn something from this movie. 🙂

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

And there you have it, Day Three of Binky International Film Festival! I hope you’ve enjoyed all the chick flicks we’ve revisited today and don’t forget to come back tomorrow for Day Four, where we’ll be taking a look at this year’s “Award Worthy” movies. Until then!

Binky Bee

Golden Globes Red Carpet Report: The Bold, The Beautiful and The Bizarre (Oh, and The Boys!)

Now that you’ve all seen The Golden Globes and read the highlights, it’s time for us to focus on what really matters: the red carpet fashion. This is what award season is all about, people, indulging on our favorite pastime of drinking wine and judging people. And by people, I mean unsuspecting celebrities walking the red carpet and hoping against all hopes that Joan Rivers will not tear them a new one the next day.

Since the Golden Globes is where movie and TV stars collide, there were a LOT of looks and red carpet photos to sort through before I could make my choices on Best and Worst Dressed of the night. I’m bound to miss a few amazing or atrocious looks, so please understand that I’m doing the best I can. 🙂 With that in mind, let’s get straight to the celebs, shall we?

The Beautiful:

Hailee Steinfeld

She’s only fourteen but my god, she’s stunning! I don’t really know who she was wearing, but I have to give her stylist props for remembering that she is fourteen. That beautiful white halter dress is very age-appropriate, and her minimal make up is fresh and youthful.

Dianna Agron in J. Mendel and Cathy Waterman Jewelries

This Glee star gets it right all the time. She wowed us all with her Carolina Herrera gown at the Emmys, and now in this blush J.Mendel she just looks so ethereal and beautiful. The Cathy Waterman necklace around her neck adds a touch of old Hollywood glamor, and overall she just looks like a breathtaking porcelain doll.

Natalie Portman in Viktor & Rolf

I think this woman is probably the most beautiful woman on the face of the earth. She’s pregnant right now but looks as slim as she did in Black Swan. I hate her. 🙂 The pink Viktor & Rolf dress looks perfect, and I love the rose accents and strawberry-colored clutch.

Heather Morris in Lorena Sarbu

When I saw her walking down the red carpet, I was blown away by little miss Brittany S. Pierce. Wow, she looks amazing. Love that sparkly, champagne-colored dress, love her hair and make up and most of all, love her attitude. Work it, girl!

Mila Kunis in Vera Wang

Somewhere in Los Angeles, Macaulay Culkin is weeping. His former lady love looks absolutely stunning in this emerald Vera Wang gown, bringing just enough drama and class to turn everyone’s heads. Hell, even the guy behind her is checking her out.

Sofia Vergara in Vera Wang

Wearing this year’s IT color “honeysuckle pink”, this Modern Family star looks absolutely muy caliente on the red carpet, prompting Kelly Osbourne to gush as she watches her from E’s Glam Cam 360. She may lost the Globes to Jane Lynch, but she’s a big winner on the carpet for sure.

Nicole Kidman in Prada

New York’s Magazine Fug Girls may think this cream Prada gown is boring, but in my opinion Nicole Kidman looks fantastic. She definitely has the body to carry off such a sleek, beautiful dress, and even though she towers over her husband Keith Urban, she still looks incredible as she poses for the cameras.

Best Dressed of The Night:

Olivia Wilde in Marchesa

My pick for Best Dressed Celeb of 2010, Olivia Wilde is definitely on her way to becoming the best dressed celeb of 2011 in this dramatic and fabulous Marchesa gown. I usually don’t like elaborate dresses, but man, she can carry it off. She even jokes that she can eat a cheeseburger in that thing. Too bad she doesn’t eat meat, though.

The Bold (Okay, Mostly Bad):

Lea Michele in Oscar de la Renta and Lorraine Schwartz jewelries

InStyle Magazine loves this look a lot, but for some reason this Glee star reminds me of a cupcake in that giant ruffly Oscar De La Renta gown. It’s just a little too much. Sorry, Lea.

January Jones in Versace

She is the face of Versace this year, so I get that she has to wear a Versace gown, but I’m so not sure about this “bondage” dress. Her boobs just look tortured, and not in a good way (is there a good way for boobs to look tortured?). Oh Miss Jones. First there was that polarizing cone bra mullet dress at last year’s Emmy. Now this. I’m thinking you and Versace don’t get along as well as you think you do.

Emma Stone in Calvin Klein and Van Cleef & Arpels and Bvlgari jewelries

Nylon Magazine LOVES this look and thinks that Emma Stone is the best dressed of the night, but I beg to differ. Anybody else thinks she looks like a piece of fruit in that sherbet-colored Calvin Klein dress? She does have the body for it but man, that color with her newly blond hair just don’t work. She has to stay blond for Spider-Man, but I’m thinking she can chuck the dress and swear never to go down that path again. I still love her though.

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore’s dress is so wacky, even InStyle doesn’t want to admit she was ever on that red carpet. So far I haven’t gotten a clue as to who actually designed that pink insanity, but when I have more info I’ll definitely update this post. But I mean, really, do we need to explain further why this dress is atrocious? Gotta love Moore though, she really knows how to bring the crazy.

Heidi Klum

Yes, Heidi, we get that the 70s is making a comeback, but are you kidding me, woman? That dress, the bow thing in the middle, the stack of bangles (best jewelries, InStyle? Really?), the thigh-high slit… I’m sorry, but no. Just no.

Jennifer Lopez in Zuhair Murad and Harry Winston Jewelries

I’m going to let New York Magazine’s Fug Girls to describe this dress to you: “J. Lo appears to be wearing a cape made of a bridal veil” and my favorite: “She is wearing a glittery, see-through poncho, you guys. A PONCHO. It is crazy unflattering and also just plain old crazy.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. (Actually, I tweeted: blech, J-Lo’s dress, so I know I didn’t say it better).

Tilda Swinton

If some other actress wore this to the red carpet, I’d probably be absolutely hating it. But it’s Tilda Swinton and this is actually right up her alley. It kind of what makes me love her. I’m still not sure if that’s an oxford shirt tucked in a skirt or an actual dress, or really who made the whole thing for her but it’s all so very Tilda, and you gotta love her for always bringing the crazy and unexpected.

Christina Hendricks in Romona Keveza and Chopard jewelries

Oh Joan. You know I love you and hate doing this to you, but seriously, girl, you need to tone it down a little when on the red carpet. The red dress, the giant flower right by your face, along with your boobs and voluminous red hair… well it’s just all a little bit too much. Sorry, darling.

Jane Fonda in George Hobeika

I know shoulder pads are totally in right now, but this dress just looks so Star Trek-y to me that I don’t think it suits Ms Fonda very well. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t suit anyone very well, unless it’s Zoe Saldana, as she walks the carpet in character as Uhura, Spock’s girlfriend. Is George Hobeika just an alias for George Takei?

Worst Dressed of The Night:

Halle Berry in Nina Ricci and Harry Winston Jewelries

New York Magazine’s Fug Girls once again nailed it on the head when they described Ms Berry’s look as: “From the neck up, she looks amazing. From the neck down, she looks like the rest of her dress got mauled off by a bear.” Amen to that. Halle Berry, what were you thinking? This is worse than when you showed up on the red carpet wearing a bikini top. I mean, people were whistling at you on the red carpet, and we fear it might have been sarcastic. No, darling. You are way too beautiful and elegant to show up at an event like this in your underwear. Please don’t do this to us.

The Bizarre:

Helena Bonham Carter in Vivienne Westwood

There were plenty of crazies on the Globes red carpet, but Helena Bonham Carter is definitely the reigning queen of whack last night. Where to begin? Everything about her look was purposely wacky, from the crazy hair to those two different shoes. God bless her. She makes the red carpet so much fun to watch. No wonder Tim Burton is “the father of her bastards” (her words, not mine), she definitely looks like a character in his movies (which, incidentally, she always is).

The Boys:

Armie Hammer

Could this man be any more gorgeous? I mean, my god, WOW. Hello, lover.

Kevin McHale

We love a guy who is not afraid to wear studded tuxedo. You go, Artie!

Matthew Bomer

I know people are still speculating about his sexuality, but I hope he’s straight. I want to have a chance with him.

Andrew Garfield

Oh, Andrew Garfield. I wish you were my very own friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. I want to step into your web.

Harry Shum, Jr.

The Glee Guys were totally bringing it at the Globes. We already know what great abs Other Asian aka Harry Shum, Jr has underneath that fabulous checked shirt…

Corey Monteith

No wonder Ryan Murphy said the cast of Glee has a lot of sex. I mean, really. Just look at the sheer adorable-ness of one Corey Monteith. Love.

So there you have it, the Golden Globes red carpet redux. Hope you’ve enjoyed this post and I’ll see you at the Oscars!