Monday, September 21, 2009


Directed by: Gus Van Sant
Written by: Dustin Lance Black
Starring: Sean Penn, James Franco, Emile Hirsch, Diego Luna, Josh Brolin

This movie, based on a true story, is moving and well-done. Everyone and everything looks prettier than it would have, of course, this is Hollywood after all. But the historical context and events are portrayed and set up well. There are some great performances, notably by Sean Penn and Josh Brolin. I really enjoyed this movie, though it was sad, and it made me think a whole lot. Watch it if you're interested in history, San Francisco, or the gay rights movement!

Grade: A

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Bucket List

Directed by: Rob Reiner
Written by: Justin Zackham
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman

Two old men with terminal cancer decide to leave the hospital and complete their 'bucket list', or list of things they want to do before they die. The beginning, I found, was painful in that it was what you might really go through in the beginning stages of being diagnosed with cancer. The 'funny' parts were more amusing than funny; I didn't laugh much. However, the movie is quite sweet and endearing. The character development is good but sort of cliche. It's sad, though, so be warned about that. It makes you want to do more with your life. As a side note, I love how Morgan Freeman's character is so trivia-obsessed. There's a bunch of Jeopardy in it! Awesome.

Grade: B

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Sharing Knife: Horizon

Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
Genre: Fantasy, Romance(ish)

I love the Sharing Knife series. It's a star-crossed lovers story, and masterfully written. There's a complex world involved and plenty of sex scenes involving a guy with a hook for a hand. The fourth, Horizon, was better than the third, I thought. I really enjoyed it. It's packed full of character drama as well as action. If it is the last one, as I suspect, I won't be too disappointed with the ending, either (though of course I want to know more).

I Love You, Man

Directed by: John Hamburg
Written by: John Hamburg and Larry Levin
Starring: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones

This movie is hilarious, heartwarming, and painfully awkward. A real estate agent (Rudd) and his fiance (Jones) are planning their wedding when it becomes apparent that he has no male friends. He sets out, with the help of his gay brother (Andy Samberg) and his mother, to find some.

Rudd is so funny and awkward, as is Segel - I love him from HIMYM. There's some great cameos, as well, including one from Lou Farrigno. There's so much Ho Yay it's ridiculous, but it makes it even more awesome. Basically, I really enjoyed this movie. And it has some great quotable lines - even better!

Grade: A-

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Directed by: Bharat Nalluri
Written by: David Magee and Simon Beaufoy
Starring: Amy Adams, Frances McDormand, Ciaran Hinds, Lee Pace

This is a movie about a governess (McDormand) in the 1940s who gets fired and finds herself desperate for work and a place to live. She ends up becoming a social secretary for an American starlet (Amy Adams) and helps her navigate her complicated love life.

The movie is adorable, happy, and ultimately even triumphant. It's a sweet story of love, and of not being ashamed of who you are. There are themes of choosing love over advantage and being able to find love even after you've given up hope. The filming is gorgeous and the costumes are pretty. I really liked it! Also I already loved Amy Adams (Enchanted) and Lee Pace (from Pushing Daisies)

Grade: A

The Graveyard Book

Author: Neil Gaiman
Year: 2008
Newbery Medal Winner!

This is a charming book about a little boy who, through rather unfortunate circumstances, grows up in a graveyard, raised by ghosts and other not-quite-living-things. Each chapter is a different but related adventure from the young life of Nobody, or Bod, as he is called. I am already a big fan of Neil Gaiman (he's my favorite author) but I hadn't yet read any of his children's/YA fiction. I was highly impressed. It's easy to forget that it's for young readers. Sure, it doesn't have hugely adult themes, but also, it is as complex and well-written as Gaiman's adult novels.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable book. I would recommend it for fantasy fans of any age.

Grade: A