Jurassic Nostalgia

Ryan Gosling in Gangster Squad with Emma Stone
Emma Stone in The Help with Bryce Dallas Howard
Bryce Dallas Howard in Jurassic World

2015, where have you gone? We’re halfway through the year at this point, and I had almost lost faith in movies. When The Boy Next Door is one of your most memorable moviegoing experiences of the year*, you know that times are tough. But 2015 really turned it around when I saw Jurassic World on a fateful Thursday night. And I’ve seen it twice now.

Do I love Jurassic World for being self-aware or do I love it for wringing every ounce of nostalgia out of me? Maybe both. The latest entry in the franchise cleverly references moments from the first movie while still wholly existing on its own. The Lost World: Jurassic Park gave us two T. rexes instead of one and Jurassic Park (clawmarks) III gave us a weird-looking dinosaur whose name starts with an “S” that no one remembers, but neither evoked the same sense of wonder as the first movie. As someone who has recently re-watched the third movie on the USA Network (don’t ask), I can safely say that Jurassic World brings back the wonder to the franchise that was lacking in the last two installments. And, yeah, it has cool dinos, too.

As a kid, I was always frustrated that we never got to see the functioning version of Jurassic Park in 1993. One of the most satisfying parts of Jurassic World is seeing the park/world in its fully-functioning glory. If I was younger, I would be dying to go to the dino petting zoo, take a ride in the gyrosphere and get inside the mosasaurus “splash zone.”

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Jurassic World isn’t a perfect movie (what are you doing, Vincent D’Onofrio?), but I haven’t felt this much like a kid in a theater in a really long time. I’m not really sure where they’ll take the franchise from here, and I’m not really sure if I need another Jurassic movie, but who can deny watching dinosaurs chasing humans and battling each other?

If you’re the only person in America who hasn’t seen it yet, I definitely recommend Jurassic World.

*The author also really liked Ex Machina.

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My Most Anticipated Movies of 2015

Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson with Anthony Mackie
Anthony Mackie (may or may not be reprising his role as Hawkeye) in Avengers: Age of Ultron

Last year was the Year of the Booty, but welcome to 2015 and the Year of the Sequel! But that’s okay because most of these sequels seem like they’re going to be pretty solid. Below (in no particular order) are my most anticipated movies of this year. I can’t wait to look at this list in 10 months and laugh! And also wonder why I left a lot of really good movies off this list. Let’s go!

Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1) – Joss Whedon and the whole crew return for more shawarma. I’m ready to assemble!

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (December 18) – Topping almost everyone’s lists this year. No explanation needed.

Pitch Perfect 2 (May 15) – Sorry superheroes and Jedis, this is probably the sequel I’m most excited about this year.

Jurassic World (June 12) – Excuse me while I watch that trailer again (cue the John Williams). Also, Chris Pratt with a stache.

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Magic Mike XXL (July 1) – C’mon, you know you liked the first one.

Crimson Peak (October 16) – Most definitely the most promising horror movie coming out this year.

Tomorrowland (May 22) – I’m intrigued, but this could be really cool or really bad.

Inside Out (June 19) – Pixar’s first original movie in 3 years. Hoping it’s at least better than Cars 2.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (November 20) – I think I’ve talked about how much I loved Part 1 enough. Can’t wait to see how they wrap up the series.

The Intern (September 25) – I’m ready for a cheesy Nancy Meyers rom com, okay?

Untitled Christmas Eve Project (November 25) – I loved Seth Rogen and JGL in 50/50, can’t wait to see them re-team with director Jonathan Levine here.

The Revenant (December 25) – Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Iñárritu. That’s all.

We Are Your Friends (sometime in 2015) – A young, upcoming DJ (Zac Efron) navigates the electronic dance music and Hollywood nightlife scene. Count me in!

Jobs (fingers crossed for a 2015 release) – The Social Network is one of my favorite movies, and even though The Newsroom was a pretty big misfire, I feel committed to watch any movie that Aaron Sorkin writes.

Dark Places (sometime this year) – I’m reading the book as we speak (it’s from the author of Gone Girl). Can’t wait to see the creepy Kansas cinematography on the big screen.

The Boy Next Door (out now) – And I”m probably going to see it this week. I need a good laugh.

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Best Movies of 2014

Ryan Gosling in Drive with Oscar Isaac
Oscar Isaac in A Most Violent Year

Happy 2015 and happy Golden Globes Sunday! It’s that time for everyone to come up with pointless lists that reflect on the year in film. So here’s mine!

Last year I saw a total of 34 movies – a little less than in previous years, but I like to think I avoided the worst ones this year. Here were my favorites:

1. A Most Violent YearThe Lego MovieThe Imitation Game
Three very different movies, but hands down my favorite three movies of the year. A Most Violent Year showcases one of the most tense final scenes of the year, and Jessica Chastain is crazy good. The Lego Movie is just flat-out the most clever and one of the most inventive movies in a while (which is insane considering it’s based on a toy line). The Imitation Game has one of the best screenplays of the past few years. And Keira Knightley’s still got it!

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2. Boyhood
A movie truly deserving of its own spot on this list. The kitchen scene at the end of the movie with Patricia Arquette is definitely my favorite scene of this past year. A pure 165 mins of nostalgia and one-of-a-kind moviemaking.

3. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 / Big Hero 6
Two of the best blockbusters of the year. Though some people may disagree, I think Mockingjay benefited from being split in two and allowed the story to breathe. Big Hero 6 is a movie I wish was around when I was a kid. I want to get lost in San Franyoko.

4. Birdman Gone Girl
Both movies weren’t afraid to make bold choices, ones that I think paid off in the end. Emma Stone and Carrie Coon are standouts, respectively.

5. SnowpiercerNeighbors
I can see both movies becoming cult classics in the very near future.

That’s all.

Still haven’t seen: Selma, Inherent Vice, The Grand Budapest Hotel (which I may never see), Under the Skin, Pride, The Guest, Big Eyes or The Skeleton Twins.

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Giving Thanks

Ryan Gosling in Gangster Squad with Josh Brolin
Josh Brolin in No Country for Old Men with Woody Harrelson
Woody Harrelson in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

In the spirit of Thanksgiving (whoops I’m a little late), here are just a few things that I’m thankful for this week:

Mockingjay Part 1
Mockingjay is a slow movie. And that’s a good thing. Every actor shines here, and that’s because the movie gives each character one great showcase moment. Jennifer Lawrence is at her best, and I think she gives a better performance here than in American Hustle. Some critics grumbled when Mockingjay was split into two parts, but I think it was for the better.

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Netflix
What is a holiday break without a little Netflix? I used my time off to start watching The Wonder Years, and I’m so glad I did. I’m now two seasons in, and I’m relieved to finally be binging a show that doesn’t make me depressed or keep me up til 3AM every night (the episodes are about 22 mins each).

We Came to Bang – 3LAU
If you’re looking for a song to add to your workout playlist, look no further. We Came to Bang by upcoming DJ/producer 3LAU combines modern the sounds of electro house with vocals by Luciana that sound like something from Jock Jams in the 90s. And that’s a good thing.

That’s all.

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Help!

Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love. with Emma Stone
Emma Stone in The Help with Viola Davis
Viola Davis in How to Get Away with Murder

Here are just a few things that are helping me get through this week:

How to Get Away with Murder
Other than Jane the Virgin, #HTGAWM is probably the best new broadcast show of the fall. Clearing my schedule this Thursday night for the winter finale to find out #WhoKilledSam. Also, Connor.

Big Hero 6
This movie came out of nowhere for me but somehow still managed to punch me in the gut. One of the most fun and inventive animated movies I’ve seen in a few years. I really wish Big Hero 6 existed when I was a kid.

Taylor Swift’s 1989 (except Welcome to New York)
I am addicted to 1989. When I’m not listening to it on repeat, I’m thinking about listening to it on repeat. Please help (but really don’t).

That’s all.

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He’s Back, I’m Back

Ryan Gosling’s back! He hasn’t appeared in a movie since last year’s Only God Forgives (which I still haven’t seen), but now that he’s a dad, Ryan seems a little more relevant again!

I’ve been gone from this blog for a while too, but Ryan has inspired me to write again. Plus I paid to renew this domain name, so why not? I feel like my post-grad self needs to write every now and then, so here I am! Hoping my brain won’t turn to mush.

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Coming soon: I watch some movies, binge on some TV and listen to some music as I anxiously await the release of Ryan’s next movie.

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This Is the Purge

1. Ryan Gosling in Drive (2011) with Carey Mulligan
2. Carey Mulligan in Shame (2011) with Michael Fassbender
3. Michael Fassbender in 300 (2006) with Lena Headey, who stars in The Purge
4. Lena Headey in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008) with Busy Philipps
5. Busy Philipps in Freaks and Geeks (1999) with Seth Rogen and James Franco and Jason Segel and David Krumholtz
6. Seth Rogen and James Franco and Jason Segel and David Krumholtz in This Is the End

Playing double duty today.

The Purge this-is-the-end-banner-726x248

A few weekends ago I watched and unlikely double feature: Blumhouse Productions’ The Purge and the Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg‘s directorial debut This Is the End. One movie is about the end of society; the other movie is about the end of the world. The movies fit together better than I thought, but I did leave the theater feeling a little depressed.

First up was The Purge. Though it didn’t take full advantage of its premise, like many critics have stated, I was pleasantly surprised in the directions that it went. In fact, sometimes the places it went were so different that entire storylines were completely abandoned (some for the better). I would’ve liked to see the world a little more fleshed out, but I’m still disturbed by the last few scenes of the movie where (***spoilers***) characters are just simply sitting in a room. I only wish the rest of the movie was that evocative.

Now, the second half of my double feature: This Is the End. Though most of the movie’s big gags had already been spoiled for me my the Internets, I still found myself chuckling to the movie’s throwaway jokes and banter. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have really mastered the balance between dick jokes and heartfelt stories of male friendship, and that formula is on full display here. The movie’s best scenes are between Rogen and Jay Baruchel, former BFFs (conveniently) reunited on the eve of the apocalypse. Most people will talk about demon penises and cameos when they talk about the movie, but the strongest element here is the friendship. Though Superbad still showcases their best writing, I can’t wait to see what this team does next.

Go celebrate society’s downfall! Check out these movies before they leave theaters… FOREVER.

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