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Posts Tagged ‘Blake Lively’

THE PAST

With the start of another semester approaching, I feel I should take a second to contemplate the year thus far. In short, I believe it’s been a cinematic drought. The past eight months have provided us with only a handful of noteworthy films. Otherwise, the lot has been filled with either cash-grabbing remakes, uninspired sequels, or straightforward disappointments. To assuage the disappointment of this year’s fruitless filmic delivery, I’ve compiled a list of my personal favorites. I should be a little optimistic, right?

3. Terribly Happy

Although Terrbily Happy hails from Denmark, it’s a film that is surprisingly inspired by some of America’s greatest directors. Impressions of David Lynch and the Coen Brothers are prevalent throughout the movie’s tensest scenes, and simple American iconography is seen percolating in the quieter, much somber moments. It’s an interesting tone for an even more interesting story. Consolidating film noir and western together, Terribly Happy saunters its way into telling a compelling and very tragic tale.

2. Inception

Unlike anything we’ve seen this year, Inception bends physics, alters time, and damns the viewers’ mind. Director Christopher Nolan imbues us with a cinematic pleasure that’s as precious as the the movie’s subject. Ornately dressed with special effects and great performances, Inception is one of 2010’s best moviegoing experiences.

1. How to Train Your Dragon

Yes, it remains! How to Train Your Dragon is still my favorite film of 2010. Sure, it’s a simple story of a boy and his pet, but to me, it’s a conglomeration of emotions so subjective and personal that it’s impossible to describe on this blog. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of things I can say…The film explores infinite terrain with whimsical scope, but the sense of danger that is projected is unmistakably real. This is done with great technical craftsmanship, but an equally satisfying core of characters also aids in making this film outstanding.

THE PRESENT

Despite my aversion towards this year’s catalog of films, there are some great titles out right now. For instance…

Cyrus

Brothers Mark and Jay Duplass, the innovators behind the mumblecore movement, dually take on their first “Hollywood” film. To the movie’s benefit, Cyrus elegantly uses minimalism to naturally elicit deep characterization and pure emotional resonance.

The Kids are All Right

I’ll be seeing this in the next few days, so I will give my full thoughts then. However, reviews for this dramedy continue to be glowing with positivity.

Winter’s Bone

Winter’s Bone has been accumulating buzz since its premiere at the Sundance Festival. Winning the Grand Jury Prize, this literary adaptation is carrying a lot of momentum on its shoulders. Hopefully, I can check it out when it comes to the local art theater at school.

Some other films available now include:

  • Mother
  • Get Low
  • Animal Kingdom

THE FUTURE

So what is there to look forward to? Well, there’s…

  • Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (August 13)
    • Comedy action
    • Directed by Edgar Wright
  • The American (September 1)
    • Noir thriller
    • Starring George Clooney
  • The Town (September 10)
    • Gangster thriller
    • Directed by Ben Afleck.
    • Starring Ben Afleck, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Jon Ham.
  • The Social Network (October 1)
    • Drama about the birth of Facebook
    • Directed by David Fincher.
    • Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake.
  • 127 Hours (November 5)
    • Directed by Danny Boyle.
    • Starring James Franco
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I (November 19)
    • Part 1 of 2 for the final chapter of Harry Potter
  • Black Swan (December 1)
    • Psychological thriller
    • Directed by Darren Aronofsky.
    • Starring Natalie Portman
  • Tron Legacy (December 17)
    • Sci-fi action sequel
    • Starring Jeff Bridges
  • True Grit (December 25)
    • Western remake by the Coen Brothers.
    • Starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin
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Gossip_Girl_title_card

The credibility of my opinion just might go down with the promulgation that I watch Gossip Girl. However, there’s no shame behind it. The show satiates my need to watch good looking people do morally questionable things. It’s forty-five minutes of promiscuity that I wish could someday enter my life. Until that day comes, I have this, and boy, is it pretty fun.

The series, which premiered in 2007, highlights the Upper East Side of New York City and its affluent inhabitants. This clear disconnect  I have with the premise (I’m a kid from a Midwest suburb) allows me to enjoy it as escapist pleasure. The characters’ stories, while at most times hyperbolized, are extremely entertaining.

Despite my positive reactions to Gossip Girl, I’ve always had a few criticisms, and this new season is already reminding me of them. So very much.

I don’t really have any interest in the show’s main character, Serena van der Woodsen. Ever since her relationship with Dan Humphrey in season one, her character has become bland. Part of this can be credited to Blake Lively who, at times, lacks chemistry with the other female leads. My sister says this is because she’s always been a guy-friend type of gal, but I think her wealthy status has given her plenty of opportunities to spend time with girls like her.(She was once queen bee. She has to have had several girl-friends). She’s even had a best friend for several years, but Lively can sometimes lack the charisma that her counterpart, Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), so easily hones.

While Blair Waldorf’s character has more meat, Serena has been given a few chances to show some depth. In the season three premiere, we saw her struggling with her father’s neglect, but her handling of the situation, not to mention the awkward acting from Lively, made her look like a complete idiot. It was difficult for me to sympathize with her, even though her issue is one of the series’ more relatable problems.

Another annoyance is the petty drama that’s used as filler material. Aside from the great dramatic arcs that span over the season, most of the tension that fills single episode springs out of mis-communication between characters. We saw this in the most recent episode with Vanessa and Dan, concluding with Vanessa saying something like “I don’t think we’re even friends anymore.” The way that these characters jump to exaggerated ends can sometimes bug me. As an audience member, it’s easy to diagnose their problem. Just talk about it without blowing up in each others’ faces.

The premiere managed to accentuate one of the show’s strongest points-Nate’s identity as an Archibald. He began questioning himself after his family’s debacle in season two, and it’s great watching him grow. Although he’s still the sluttiest character, he’s trying to prove himself as an individual, not as a product of his family’s name. What’s to come should be interesting.

Blair and Chuck, Gossip Girl’s most magnetic characters, started off season three with a usual bang. Their relationship will divide fans; some will find it strange, while others will think it’s hot and kinky. I happen to dig it. I really enjoyed the amount of heartfelt intimacy the two achieved, and their mix of plotting here and there never goes wrong. Their balance right now seems perfect. Wherever their relationship goes, I will follow with undivided attention.

While Gossip Girl is a pretty good show, season three’s premiere was mediocre. The episode highlighted the hindrances of the series, but it exhibited promise in newer areas the show will most likely explore in this upcoming season.

(I’m a nerdy kid from a Midwest suburb)

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