Saturday, March 29, 2014

Romantics Anonymous

Someone wrote that Romantics Anonymous is a cup of warm cocoa, and I think that fits it better than I could.  I can describe this movie as sappy, corny, sweet, funny, quirky, and just an overall nice movie, but somehow that can come out sounding bad?

I mean, let's get this strait, this movie is not going to make you rethink or change your life, but that's not what it set out to do.  The movie has set out hoping that you find a little of yourself in these neurotic, afraid of everything characters.  But then that could turn people away too, I certainly would have had a hard time convincing myself to watch a movie about social anxiety laden people, but it somehow does it without being annoying.  American cinema, romantic comedies especially, rely on "annoyance is funny" of which I despise.  Romantics Anonymous never felt annoying, it felt warm, and silly, and was just overall a warm cup of sappy cocoa.

A small summary of the concept: Jean-Rene and Angelique are both socially awkward people.  Angelique is in a group of strongly emotioned people that get overwhelmed but have formed a group therapy session to help each other with it.  When she gets asked questions or becomes the center of attention she has a panic attack and frequently faints.  This has cost her a job as a chocolate maker. in the past.  Jean-Rene is the inheritor of an old fashioned chocolate boutique, he has inherited his father's fear of the world as well.  He goes to a therapist that challenges him to try new things.  Angelique chooses this shop to apply for a job, while Jean-Rene's challenge is to ask someone to dinner.

There is a small cast of quirky individuals that reminds me of the kind of casts in Hedgehog and Amelie, and they all do their job very well also.  The stars make the movie though.  Angelique is played by Isabelle Carre, and she's kind of quirky like Amelie, but she has this Pam Beesly(Jenna Fischer) from The Office quality to her.  She is played well, but I feel the star performance is by Jean-Rene's actor Benoit Poelvoorde.  He is what separates this movie from the Hollywood drivel that comes out here in the states.  He's funny, and almost clown like in his mannerisms, but plays the part strait at the perfect times.

If you like the 90's era un-edgy romantic comedies like Sleepless in Seattle, Jerry Mcquire or You've Got Mail, I think you could come to like this movie.  Oh, and if you don't want to see an hour+ movie with chocolates as a centerpiece, stay way, this will make you crave chocolate.  Here's a trailer:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My Experience with Frozen

I came into Frozen with a cold heart(I'm a blogger!).

I find myself in this weird world where Disney is not making any hand animated features, and Pixar is endlessly putting out horrible sequels to my least liked Pixar movies.  I don't like this world.  The thing is... the Disney Studio's recent CGI movies are trumping Pixar.  Wreck-it-Ralph overcame my skepticism early with its first trail.  It has a hand up when it comes to me because its based on video games, and thankfully it was created by people who actually loved video games(of all eras).  Wreck-it-Ralph was amazing in all categories.  Frozen, I wanted to hate Frozen.

Frozen had no excuse to me as to why it was CGI and not hand animated.  It was a Disney princess tale, not a movie about computer created characters.  I disliked Tangled, which I thought would have been better animated by hand.   I started picking Frozen apart early, starting with the fact that it was in development hell for years.  Then I saw the advertisements.  It was so "formula" based it solidified my want to hate it.  The snowman thing looked horrible, sounded horrible, and seemed unneeded.  It was like it was an afterthought, but hey, they chose to use it as a huge advertising focus.  Then there was the whole "dumb guy, smart princess" thing that was funny when it was first done, but now probably 1/2 of Disney movies use this dynamic... oh and 100% of today's sitcoms.  It also looked so damn much like Tangled.

Then I watched it.  I said to myself "you know what, even if its a crap story, and annoying characters, I will be in a theater, and I'm virtually guaranteed to see some amazing landscapes.  Early on I really liked that the two Princesses were not enemies.  This was a movie made for sisters to watch together.  It is a dynamic not explored in Disney before.  Then they also had some hard political intrigue.  I'm not talking "oh no the guy from the other nation doesn't like things", I mean they had economic manipulation and diplomatic position shifting.  Another bonus for me.  The stupid animated snowman never redeemed himself.  I took the opportunity of his song sequence to go take a piss.

I think it turned around for me during the amazing landscape sequence I was waiting for, because the song was amazing.  The song sequence "Let it Go" is easily the highlight of the entire movie for me.  I got the incredible visuals I was expecting, and a pretty good song I was not.  Disney has not had a super strong song in a feature for many years, especially not one that people would go out and buy a soundtrack for.  I just wish the rest of the songs were catchy like in the early 90's movies, but these days 1 good one is good enough.

Good enough for an Oscar.  Idina did an amazing job on the Oscars right before they announced that Frozen had won for best original song.  Even during the Oscar performance, I was like "this is a very powerful song".  I can even overlook the incessant need for people to put a "let's talk in the song like Pink" part at the very end.  Its the very end, I can get over it.  Then the pair that came up to accept the Oscar were like the most bubbly and funny pair I'd seen at the Oscars all night.  They also looked like normal, every day people among a sea of plastic and paint.  I was very happy for them.

I'd own Frozen.  A rare sentiment for a Disney/Pixar movie in the past decade.