Thursday, March 31, 2011

Netflix Pix: Funny Girls and Serious Boys

It seems like Netflix Pix features come far too quickly every week--each time I'm done with one it's onto the other. It'll probably go every-other-week in Season Two so I won't feel so drained by it to the point where I miss deadlines by a mile. But I digress.

This week we have two vastly different movies, and that's where this series makes its bread and butter. We'll be taking a look at the film that earned Tommy Lee Jones his last Oscar nomination, In the Valley of Elah, a film I've always considered underrated. Then we'll look at Funny Girl, the Barbra Streisand-starring musical that made popular such anthems as "Funny Girl" and "Don't Rain On My Parade." The theme this week is weak (no pun intended), but it's essentially this: boys are serious and talk about war, girls are divas and sing about things. Sexism! Now available in fantastic films.

Monday, March 28, 2011

MVM: I Know We're Cool

Another installment of Music Video Mondays for you guys! We premiered this series in 2011 with Rebecca Black's magnum opus 'Friday', then took a trip back a decade to talk about a girl named Lucky. Let's land somewhere in the middle this week to talk about our favorite Aughts-era platinum blonde: Gwen Stefani. After breaking up with No Doubt, Stefani released her solo album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. in 2004, and launched an incredible five hit singles before finally crashing (on its sixth single, ironically called "Crash").

Preceded by "What You Waiting For?" and "Rich Girl," as well as the massively successful "Hollaback Girl," the song and video this week, "Cool," was the fourth of these singles and the slowest. Truly a shift in tone from the other fast-paced singles, "Cool" was actually quite lovely, a beautifully-performed song with an equally lovely video to accompany it. The whole point is that Stefani and her supposed ex-lover are now 'cool,' but really, you can feel the awkwardness bubbling throughout the video. Let's check it out!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Netflix Pix: Vicky, Cristina, Maria Elena, Hannah and Her Sisters

Apologies for the delay on the new episodes of Netflix Pix! The good news is that the next six weeks will (theoretically, hopefully, God willing) bring an uninterrupted stretch of episodes until the end of the season.

This week, we're taking a quick look at some of the most fabulous women ever to grace Woody Allen's oeuvre. That's right, this week we're looking at the my number one film of 2008, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, starring Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johanssen, Patricia Clarkson and the fiery Oscar winner Penelope Cruz. We'll also take a look at Hannah and Her Sisters, Allen's 1986 box office success that stars Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey, Allen himself, and two Oscar winners, Michael Caine and Dianne Wiest.

Monday, March 21, 2011

MVM: She's So Lucky

It's time for the next installment of our new series Music Video Mondays! While I don't think this will be nearly as popular as the premiere of the segment, an analysis of Rebecca Black's "Friday" (thanks to everyone who pushed it to over 500 page views!), we're gonna appeal to early Aughts' nostalgia with a look at a Britney Spears video most college students should remember fondly.

This is a story about a girl named Lucky.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

American Idol 10: Why It's Working (Even Though It Shouldn't)

This really shouldn't have worked. Why is it working?!
America is currently experiencing the closest thing to a television miracle. A ten year-old reality show that saw its ratings hemorrhage in its last season is healing itself by making changes and running a tight ship. It overhauled its judging panel and got great talent to fill the ranks of the final rounds. It reinstated its former executive producer and its host suddenly learned how to host a reality show.

This... is the new American Idol!

Monday, March 14, 2011

MVM: Which Seat Can I Take? The Rebecca Black Story

I'm in the middle of writing about the newest season of American Idol, but let's be honest. No one wants to read about that today. We (we we) want to read about viral sensation Rebecca Black and her unending quest for fun, fun, fun, fun on Fridays (provided she picks the right seat in the car, of course) in our new segment called Music Video Mondays.

Oh, Rebecca, you have no idea.
Inspired by poor unfortunate soul Rebecca Black, Mondays will now host breakdowns of music videos old and new. It's a small way of expanding the scope of Awkward is What We Aim For beyond film reviews. (Speaking of those, I know, I was supposed to have a new Netflix Pix up this week. That's my fault--it'll be back next week.)

Video and commentary follow after the page break.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Almost a Complete Win

I'm on a bit of a Sundance kick right now--tonight I'm attending a preview screening of Like Crazy, a big hit at the independent film festival earlier this year (and one of our predicted Best Picture and Best Actress nominees for 2011), and last night I got the chance to attend an on-campus screening of Fox Searchlight's newest film (and another Sundance darling) Win Win, directed by The Visitor's Tom McCarthy and starring Paul Giamatti.

The former I won't get the chance to write about for many a month--it's not yet been assigned a release date, much less an MPAA rating. The latter, however, is embargo-free, so I'm free to say that it is just short of a total knockout. Well-acted, well-written, and well-paced, the film is nothing short of superb.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Netflix Pix Season 1 Schedule: What's Next?

Everyone doing just fine on this lazy Saturday? Nothing too exciting happening in this neck of the woods--just rewatching Chicago on Netflix. I'd forgotten how much Catherine Zeta-Jones deserved her Oscar considering my love for Meryl Streep's performance in Adaptation. Sometimes too many great performances come in the same year. Michelle Williams and Nicole Kidman learned that lesson quite well this year. Be on the lookout for a pair of pieces about the oh-so-different Chicago and Dreamgirls...sometime. Probably in a few months. We've always got too much going on.

I wanted to share with everyone the schedule for Netflix Pix for the remainder of the season. Like all good series, I'm going to put this one on hiatus for the summer, bringing it back in August. Before then, however, we have six more episodes to look forward to. Check out the schedule for the remaining episodes below. And as always, you can check out these posts here at Awkward is What We Aim For or at our new partner site Reel Artsy!

March 22 -- Woody Allen: Hannah and Her Sisters & Vicky Cristina Barcelona
March 29 -- Funny Girl & In the Valley of Elah
April 5 -- Rachel Weisz: The Constant Gardener & Runaway Jury
April 12 -- I Am Love & Postcards From the Edge
April 19 -- Christopher Guest: Best in Show & For Your Consideration
April 26 (Season Finale!) -- The Devil Wears Prada & Sunset Boulevard

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Extremely Annoying and Incredibly Repetitive

Most of you movie buffs are probably aware that the film adaptation of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is expected out in the next couple of years. (It could theoretically come out this year, but it's slated for 2012, which is why it's missing from Andrew's and my early predictions along with Roman Polanski's Carnage.) It's being directed by Stephen Daldry and will star Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks.

To say I am not looking forward to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is the understatement of the century. I cannot stand that book. Maybe it will adapt well, but it's the equivalent of trying to put lipstick on a really artistically-stunted, incoherent pig.

Told you I really hated it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Beyond the Awkward: Take a Trip to Crazytown! Oscar 2011 Predictions

Come on down to Crazytown, folks! It's been a mere couple of days since the last Oscar season ended, and we here at Awkward is What We Aim For are preparing for the 84th Academy Awards--in one year's time.

Why are we doing this, you might ask? Well, call us certifiable, but we always love to be a step ahead. And this is about a thousand steps ahead. As a result, these predictions are sure to fail in a grand fashion (which is why we kept it to the top six categories), but really, they were just fun.

Joining me in this ridiculous venture is AIWWAF contributor Andrew Sheridan, making this both a Beyond the Awkward feature and a Oscar Predictions post. Double the crazy, double the fun!

We made our predictions independently of each other, so you'll see both lists below, followed by some quick analysis. The overall list (both synthesized into the best guess) will appear in the Current Oscar Predictions section. Enjoy our insanely early Oscar picks!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Netflix Pix: Eternal Kramer vs. Up

Sorry for the delay on Netflix Pix entries, everyone. Oscar's annual Month o' Crazy got in the way. But we're back to regular entries, once a week or every two weeks (still not decided just yet).

However, to reward a long wait, as well as to celebrate the first collaboration between Awkward is What We Aim For and Reel Artsy, we have three movies featured today, one regular mail and two Instant Watch. The combination (and the title of this post) is awkward, but that's exactly as it should be, no?

Without further ado, let's get started!