Review: 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

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“I don’t like to do what people expect.Why should I live up to other people’s expectations instead of my own?”
– Kat Stratford

SYNOPSIS: A pretty, popular teenager can’t go out on a date until her ill-tempered older sister does. – via IMDB

This is such a classic in my opinion. I have seen it plenty of times and I still love it. There is so much about it that just screams the nineties but it pulls it off. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen this movie, and it is still a blast from start to finish. It has held up really well after all these years.

Everyone does a great job with their characters. Julia Stiles is a fantastic, bitter girl, Heath Ledger is fantastic as the outcast bad boy, Larisa Oleynik is a suitably spoiled brat, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is that sweet boy-next-door type. There are so many characters to talk about here so I will not really get into them all. It’s a sweet, fun story with plenty of humour in it. No matter how many times I have seen this, there are still things I laugh at. 10 Things I Hate About You is also super quotable, and will stay with you long after you have moved on.

The humour is great and the story keeps you hooked throughout. There are so many little things that come together in this to make it worth the watch, and I loved to see how certain characters interacted with others. The soundtrack also totally works with the movie. I thought the rumour mill surrounding Patrick was absolutely amazing, too. While this is not the most original and unpredictable movie ever, it is done so well and the cast work so well together that it still has a fresh feeling to it. Also, I absolutely love the chemistry between Stiles and Ledger.

So much has been said about this fantastic movie over the years, and there is not really much that I can contribute to the discussion. I will just say that 10 Things I Hate About You is quirky and sweet and has heart and gets me every time. It manages the fine balance between sweet but not sappy, and I appreciate that. It is the kind of movie that guys and girls alike can enjoy. The movie is bags of fun every time and I highly recommend it, and not just because of the nostalgia!

Also, could we just take a moment to admire Heath Ledger in this??

Rapid Review: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

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The Dark Knight Rises poster

Oh, you think darkness is your ally. But you merely adopted the dark; I was born in it, moulded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man; by then it was nothing to me but blinding!”
– Bane

dark knight rises bane plane

GRADE 8.5This was a brilliant way to conclude a brilliant trilogy! I know that Luke and I don’t necessarily see completely eye to eye on this one, but I still think it is really good. At least we can agree that this trilogy is a stroke of utter genius. Plus, Tom Hardy as Bane. I mean come on, like that wasn’t going to go down phenomenally. Tom Hardy was just an amazing Bane, and his role was simply flawless. Nolan again nailed that perfect mix in the villain, where you wanted to know more about him and see what he was going to do, but still held out that Batman would save the day. Christian Bale is, again, just the most perfect Bruce Wayne/Batman. Seriously. The way he embodies both the billionaire playboy and the Dark Knight? It’s awesome. However, as much as this movie got right, I am not going to pretend there weren’t flaws. The pacing was a little uneven, and there was some incredibly flawed logic thrown in here. For instance, I get that John Blake is intuitive and all, but just guessing Batman’s identity right off the bat was just too much for me, and there is also the issue with Bane knowing exactly where Applied Sciences was, though it is apparently “not on the books” anywhere, and not public knowledge. Also, I am not a fan of Anne Hathaway, and her Catwoman/Selina Kyle is someone that grows on you after multiple viewings, but is still not a character I enjoy a lot at all. Yeah, there were a few niggles, but so what? This movie is ridiculously quotable. My fiancé just doesn’t even know what to do with me… walking up staircases and he doesn’t turn on lights? “Ah, you think darkness is your ally.” Threatening someone? No sweat! “It would be extremely painful… for you.” My one colleague and I communicate a lot in Bane quotes (well, any movie quotes). It’s a problem, we know, yet we have absolutely no plans to change that. But truly now, Bane is awesome on so many levels (and so hot here – the ladies will understand this, though it was unexpected)! And there are so many quotes in this movie that beg to be used. One of my favourite things in this movie was the return of the Scarecrow. I adore Cillian Murphy and I am a big fan of his Dr Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow. I was thrilled to see him given more screentime this time around as opposed to The Dark Knight. Anyway, The Dark Knight Rises is another solid outing from Nolan, is really fun even though it is flawed, and closes one of the greatest trilogies of all time off properly. Go watch these all again immediately. Go on.

PS: I just remembered now – this movie was totally worth every second of my two week self-enforced internet ban prior to its release (I hate getting things late in SA)! It still remains a running joke, and Natasha still can’t believe I underwent something like that for a movie.

Sporadic Scene: (500) Days of Summer (2009) – You Make My Dreams (Dance)

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This is one of those movies that I adored. It was fresh and different and not some ridiculous rom-com that wasted time and energy. Instead, it gave me some good laughs, some things to chew on, solid performances and some really memorable scenes. This scene with Joseph Gordon Levitt is really super cool, shot so well and it comes together perfectly. It gives testament to the movie that having something like this in it didn’t even break the stride of the film, yet it fits in fantastically without the movie being anything like this clip.

If you have a scene that you would like featured, drop me a mail at sporadiczoe@hotmail.com with a picture/gif/video of the scene and an explanation as to why (should you want to include it).

Review: (500) Days of Summer (2009)

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500 days of summer poster

“Do you ever do this, you think back on all the times you’ve had with someone and you just replay it in your head over and over again and you look for those first signs of trouble?”
– Tom Hansen

Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is an optimist and a believer in true love. He dreamed of becoming an architect and instead ended up working in a greeting card company in Los Angeles as a writer. His life is changed when he meets Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel). For him it is love at first site. She is gorgeous and funny and smart. She is his dream girl. Tom starts obsessing over Summer, and eventually manages to strike up a conversation with her. After a pleasant night out at karaoke, Tom’s friend and co-worker McKenzie (Geoffrey Arend) let’s Summer in on how much Tom likes her. Summer tells Tom that she is not looking for a relationship and thinks true love is ridiculous.

500 days of summer tom and summer start dating

“I love how she makes me feel, like anything’s possible, or like life is worth it.” – Tom

However, Summer kisses Tom at work one day, and soon they start to see more of each other, though they aren’t labelling it anything as of yet. Tom falls madly in love with Summer, and the two seem to get along fantastically. Tom seems to be walking on water, and his life seems like a movie. However, after seeing each other for a while, Tom gets into a bar fight with a guy hitting on Summer, and they fight. Their relationship seems broken, and Tom accuses Summer of all sorts of things, among them that she cannot call them friends and still kiss him and sleep with him. They patch things up, but as time moves on the cracks rip into their relationship. Eventually they break up after watching The Graduate, a film depicting what Tom sees as true love. He is devastated, and his life falls apart around his ears. Paul (Matthew Gray Gubler) and McKenzie call Rachel (Chloë Grace Moretz), Tom’s younger sister, to come and get his head back on straight. He is drinking, he is catatonic, and he is distraught.

500 days of summer cracks

“I love her smile. I love her hair. I love her knees. I love how she licks her lips before she talks. I love her heart-shaped birthmark on her neck. I love it when she sleeps.” – Tom

Tom soon starts to try and put his life back together, but it seems useless without Summer. His work, which had flourished while he was with Summer, has become dark and depressing, and they have shifted him into the condolences department. Summer seems to be moving on. At a mutual wedding they attend, Summer and Tom spend some time together, and everything is great. She invites him to a party at her home, and Tom is sure that they will fix up everything that was wrong in their past. Filled with hope and anticipation, he arrives at her apartment and finds that his expectations vs reality were two totally different ideas. His quiet little evening with her really is a party, and his dreams of a reconciliation are shattered when he realises he is actually attending her engagement party. He is crushed and leaves immediately, and his life slips into further decay when he goes as far as to quit his job.

“People don’t realize this, but loneliness is underrated.” – Tom

Was this entire journey what Tom needed to find himself? Will he get a job in architecture now that he is not messing around with the silly writing at a firm he was not destined to be at? Does Tom still believe in true love, or has Summer tainted that for him forever? Will Summer get married to her unknown man, or will she return to Tom? What will happen now that the two of them seem to be moving on different trajectories? Will Tom flounder of flourish now that he is loveless and jobless?

500 days of summer breakup

“We’ve been like Sid and Nancy for months now.” – Summer

An 8/10 for (500) Days of Summer. This movie was so cute and fun but not overbearingly so. Zooey Deschanel truly is absolutely gorgeous and was thus very well suited for her role. I enjoyed Matthew Gray Gubler, he is always the awkward and funny one and he certainly didn’t disappoint here. This movie really managed to get parts or a breakup down right and did it in a hilarious way, as well as how awesome everything is when things are going well. The little dance scene was excellent when Tom was on his way to work. His enthusiasm was palpable. The chemistry between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel was just what the movie needed, and truly sold the concept. I really, really enjoyed this movie, and what I like is how just about everyone else I have met that has seen it (men and women alike), admits that it is worth looking into. Plenty of my fellow bloggers who are male enjoyed it too, so as a guy you won’t feel ashamed about watching it, and seeing as it isn’t soppy, you may very well appreciate it. I felt this was a lot more fresh and realistic than your average romantic flick, and had the good times and the bad times involved. I really loved how it was shot, and that it was nonlinear narrative, it gave something new and fresh to the film, and it was nice to jump between the good and the bad, the funny and the sad. It had a solid cast that carried everything that was going on, and I thought Mark Webb worked wonders with this.

Review: Don Jon (2013)

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DON JON MOVIE POSTER“Movies and porn are different, Jon. They give awards for movies.”
– Barbara

Jon “Don Jon” Martello Jr (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is an attractive, egotistical and shallow porn addict. An addict though he does not know it. His friends consider him to be a Don Juan of the modern day. He sleeps with a lot of women, though he still watches a lot of porn, being of the opinion that it is superior to sex. He loves his family, his car, his body, his home, his friends, his church, his girls and his pornography, though not in that order exactly. One night out he meets a girl and she is just gorgeous for him in every which way. He flirts with her and makes out with her but she leaves to go home at the end of the night without him. He is not deterred, and picks up another girl and goes home with her. After their night is spent together, he goes and watches pornography. The real deal simply doesn’t live up to that which pornographic dreams he has.

don jon at the club

“Since last Sunday I had sexual relations out of wedlock two times. I also watched pornographic videos and masturbated seventeen times. For these, and all the sins in my life, I am sorry.” – Jon

Doing something completely out of character when he cannot stop thinking about the mysterious girl at the club that turned his one night stand down, he starts asking around about her and learns that her name is Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johannson), and gets hold of her to meet him for lunch. The two circle around each other, both being the unknown quantity. They are both attracted to one another, but she refuses to sleep with him and that be all the relationship is about. The two start dating one another, and Jon needs to make do without sex for more than a month. Jon is also taking classes at night so that he can get a more stable job than that from the service industry. Jon introduces Barbara to his mother Angela (Glenne Headly), father Jon Martello Sr (Tony Danza) and sister Monica (Brie Larson). The family seems to like her a lot. Barbara starts changing a lot of things in Jon’s life, and he allows it to happen, but does not see the bigger picture.

don jon couple

“You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” – Jon

The couple finally sleeps together, though Jon is disappointed with the result. He was expecting the sex to be the best thing ever. After they are done, naturally he gets up to watch porn. Barbara catches him and freaks out, leaving Jon to lie to her about it being a joke email that one of the guys sent to her. Calming down, she believes him and things go back to normal. Jon starts to hide his tendency to watch porn, getting his fix where he can. At college he meets a woman named Esther (Julianne Moore), emotional and very strange. She catches him watching porn but does not judge him. The two eventually enter into a very strange friendship, and Jon starts confiding his secrets to her. Jon and Barbara’s relationship is far from perfect, and the longer they are together the more controlling she becomes, and he allows it. She puts him down about the things that he finds to be personally satisfying, and eventually their relationship starts to splinter, though Jon is in love with her. Discovering porn in Jon’s browser, Barbara calls an end to their relationship, though Jon will not tell anyone.

DON JON

“If you wanna lose yourself, you have to lose yourself in another person. It’s a two way thing.” – Esther

Will they be able to find a way to work past their differences? Will Jon stop lying to Barbara about the porn? Will Jon find a way to enjoy sex as much as he does pornography, or is that something that is just never going to matter? Will Barbara be the woman to teach him that women are there for more than just sexual gratification and the stroking of the male ego? Will Jon complete his college classes so that he has an education behind him?

Don Jon earns a 6.5/10. This really was not a bad outing for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and again he showcases his talents here, taking it up a notch to include directing, too. I enjoyed the movie for what it was, giving another look at how some people may perceive porn to be, as well as the insane track record Jon had created for himself, and how incredibly selfish and dissatisfied he is no matter what. The way he changes tack and attempts to go on the straight and narrow to get laid in a more satisfying way had me laughing. Scarlett Johannson was brilliant to play Barbara, and she, too, was as selfish as her male counterpart. It seemed a match made in heaven, though naturally, nothing was changed too much from him. Listening to Jon defend his pornographic enjoyment was funny and sad both at the same time, because it truly highlights that he is an addict. I had to laugh at how/where Jon exercised his penance according to the Catholic Church – in gym while working out. Also, the way it shows how Jon really did love the church, and considered it to have a huge impact in his life, just to learn that he is a mere member to them, nothing more, nothing special. Monica says nothing throughout the film, but when Brie Larson was utelised to say what was required, it carried so much more impact. Julianne Moore was again worth checking out, she was emotional and she carried her character well. I thought she was well cast, though there were so many complaints. Definitely not a movie I would say is family friendly viewing, it is not too bad to check out when you have the time.

Review: Looper (2012)

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looper movie poster

“I work as a specialized assassin, in an outfit called the Loopers. When my organization from the future wants someone to die, they zap them back to me and I eliminate the target from the future. The only rule is: never let your target escape… even if your target is you.”
– Joe

Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in in the prime of his life and living it up. It is 2044 and his occupation is that of a looper for a Kansas City crime syndicate. He is basically a hitman that kills and disposes of the bodies he is sent by Abe (Jeff Daniels). A looper gets paid in silver bars strapped to the victim. Loopers can also retire, which means that a looper’s future self will be sent back thirty years as a target for themselves, but strapped with gold bars instead of silver bars. It is called “closing the loop”, and if a looper fails to do so, it is punishable by death.

Joe’s close friend Seth (Paul Dano) manages to screw up his target (being himself), thus not closing the loop. Seth is telekinetic, and terrified of what is to come. He confides in Joe that his future self (Frank Brennan) warned him of a terrible and mysterious person named the Rainmakes in the future, who has mysteriously overthrown the five major crime bosses alone and is ending all the loopers’ contracts in 2074. Joe hides Seth, and goes to see Abe. Kid Blue (Noah Segan) wants Seth, and bad. Joe plays innocent for a while, thinking about all his silver bars and the future he wishes for himself. Abe doesn’t have time, and drops the ultimatum: half the hidden silver or his friend. Selfishly, Joe sells out Seth, and deals with the guilt.

looper kill shot

“I’m gonna fix this! I’m gonna find him, and I’m gonna kill him!” – Joe

Joe’s next target arrives late, untied and exposed. He recognizes his older self (Bruce Willis). In shock, he fails to close the loop in time, and Old Joe escapes. Things are not working out for Young Joe, and he and Kid Blue have some massive fights. Young Joe blacks out. In an alternate timeline, Young Joe successfully closes his loop and moves to Shanghai, where his drug addiction does not wane. He excels at his job, yet later he meets a woman (Xu Qing) and they fall in love. Joe’s whole life is turned around, and she takes care of him, he lives a whole life. However, thirty years pass and Joe is taken to close the loop again. Unfortunately, his wife does not make it in the struggle. Joe overpowers his captors and goes back to 2044, unbound and uncovered, and we are back to where it all started.

looper joes in the diner

“My memory’s cloudy. It’s a cloud. Because my memories aren’t really memories. They’re just one possible eventuality now.” – Old Joe

Old Joe hides Young Joe and later explains to him that it is his mission to kill the Rainmaker as a child to change how things are in the future, making sure that he will not have to be looped back and his wife will be spared. Young Joe doesn’t seem to care, and unsuccessfully tries to close his loop. Old Joe has done some research into where this child will be, and is moving through three families he has marked off, hunting their kids. He is not sure which one is the future Rainmaker, but he is taking no chances. Young Joe follows a shred of the map he tore off from Old Joe and makes to go to the place. On the farm he tracks down, he meets Sara (Emily Blunt) and her young son Cid (Pierce Gagnon). Young Joe needs to prove himself, but is only concerned about stopping his older self when he eventually turns up.

looper business gone bad

“Ask yourself: who would I sacrifice for what’s mine?” – Abe

However, it soon becomes evident that Cid is the future Rainmaker that Old Joe is hunting, and Young Joe has taken rather a liking to the kid. Is this child truly the responsibility of crippling the future crime bosses, becoming one of the most terrifying people in the world, feared by all? Is he really the one that cost Old Joe so much pain and suffering? Will Old Joe find the relevant family, and how will he and Young Joe hash things out to make things right? Does Young Joe still have the opportunity to make things right with his bosses?

Looper scores an 8/10. Definitely not a bad watch. The movie is rather complex, but not so much that you don’t understand, though it is incredibly important to understand everything from the get-go, because everything is built on that. I adore Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and I thought he was good to watch (as always). They went to some extreme measures to change his appearance, and I personally thought that they did a good job to get him look closer to Bruce Willis, though it was terribly disconcerting. It threw me a little that he did not look so much like himself. Bruce Willis has typical action scenes in here, which is not a bad thing. He is an action star, after all. The story that was told in here was rather in depth, and quite a thing to follow, though not an impossibility. The cast was decent, the effects were fine and the story was fresh. It was innovative, and had me thinking all the way through, wondering what was coming, what was happening, what had happened as well as when the heck it happened. Definitely something new, and something that has not really been done quite like this. It is seldom that you come across something shiny, but this film has it all. They didn’t lose sight of the story or the characters, and found a way to work them all together seamlessly. Time travel is not always something that is executed very well, in my opinion, there is too much to go wrong. In this one, as complex as it was, they managed to keep it all rolling smoothly and without too many loose ends. I would recommend this to anyone who has not seen it, though I suggest you don’t put it on for light watching. Have your wits about you.

Recently impressive films

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This time I have compiled a list of movies that have impressed me as of late, unlike the previous list of disappointments from last week. These are not reviews, just what I felt about the films.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

I did not just add The Dark Knight Rises to this list because I vastly enjoyed the last two installments offered by Christopher Nolan into a monstrosity of a film conglomerate, but because he again brought so much to the table with this installment, and I was not disappointed. I did not fear as so many did to be let down, as Nolan is truly an awe-inspiring director. Again, he had the villain/hero ratio down perfectly. As much as you want Batman to succeed, so you want to see what Bane has up his sleeve, and what shall become of Gotham should a hero not rise?

I was completely blown away with the manner in which Tom Hardy brought Bane to life on screen for the world to see. I have to give him immense credit for how, although the majority of his face is obscured for the duration of the movie, you felt every emotion he had to offer. I also appreciate how Christopher Nolan gave Bane existence that was closer to what it should have been (albeit not his entirely correct back story), but he was no longer Ivy’s bitch.

The overall story was immensely engrossing, and entertaining. A stellar cast that works so tightly and seamlessly you get drawn in altogether. I thoroughly enjoyed having the Scarecrow featured in this film as judge, jury and executioner, but I saw that a lot of the audience that did not know the Batman story or the past movie characters too well, totally missed this little gem.

I feel that this was a tremendous way to close what I feel was one of the best film trilogies since The Lord of the Rings. It was excellent. It drew all the subplots together, concluded Bruce Wayne’s story so well, and gave the audience what it wanted. I personally felt no bitterness about the finale of this three part story, I only felt slightly saddened that this was the end. I mean, this is how you bring a superhero to life, after all. This was the most successful rendition I have ever seen of bringing a comic to screen. Christian Bale is Batman, there is no denying that, but I am glad the Christopher Nolan had the good sense to end it on his own terms, instead of it dragging out and having it fall apart at the seams.

50/50 (2011)

Then there was 50/50. I really feel this movie should have gotten far more acclaim than it actually did.

50/50 is a story about a young man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) of 27 being diagnosed with an extremely rare cancer, with a survival chance of only 50%. The movie takes us through the understanding of the life of a cancer patient, the friendships that are developed, the effect that cancer has on friends and families as well as how the process of cancer works. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I could laugh, get angry, get sad, get hopeful, feel despondency, and so I highly recommend this movie to be watched.

The humour was excellent, looking at dealing with things in life in a different manner, how people react to certain social events and how people sometimes use the most flawed reasoning. The film greatly balanced the humour and more somber side of the movie, having the mix perfectly right. You never get the feeling of mockery, scorn or ridicule off of this movie, and it is that that makes it work. It is heartfelt, and warming. This is not what I anticipated when I got ready for this movie, at all. I was slightly worried I would take offence of something like cancer being made fun of. That was definitely not the case.

The Hunger Games (2012)

Then.. The Hunger Games. I have mentioned in a previous blog that I was astounded that they conveyed a first person narrative so effectively to screen. The cast was strong and solid, and I think having Suzanne Collins on board for the screenplay must have made an insanely large positive contribution to the film.

I enjoyed how you could follow the story, and get wrapped up in it. The betrayal, anger and suffering of the people was brought predominantly well to the screen, and it was mesmerizing to watch. The cast was amazing, slipping into the roles ever so easily. I still find Katniss difficult to identify with at the best of times for varying reasons (not so much from this movie as from the books, however). Do not chalk this up as a children’s film and move on, as it really is so much more that that. It bears the story of hope and rising up against a regime of unfairness and oppression, and is truly worth the watch.

I am holding out for Catching Fire, which is due next year. I am sure that if they can keep the next two movies in the same line as The Hunger Games, they will have a remarkable trilogy. So let us hope for the best and see where this goes. 🙂

Are there any films that you can recommend that I see?