Loko for Loki

Had a sort of way-cool experience the other night, and figured it made for good blog fodder…

My lil’ sis, (Prof) X and I, spontaneously decided to go stalk/gawk some of the filming that’s being done for the upcoming Avengers film, that’s actually happening somewhat nearby our lovely midwest hellhole.  We figured we’d just go see what we could see, especially since X is madly in love with the bloke who plays Loki, Tom Hiddleston.  She was hoping the Tarot cards were correct, and we’d have some sort of insane celeb encounter, but my expectations were way lower.

This was a week of night shoots happening from 6pm – 6am, so we had to perform this stake-out in the middle of the night, although we knew that several major cast members were going to be there.  We arrived to see about 30-50 people milling around the caution tape, hoping for a glimpse.  Some sort of scene with a couple hundred extras trying to flee from an opera house was being filmed, surrounding a beer garden in “Germany” (all the road signs were redone in German and the cars sitting around were European-ized).

We did get to see the actual Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and Loki battling every time “Action” was yelled over a loudspeaker (which was fucking cool to hear in person, like on a FOR REALSIES, REAL, GINORMOUS, SUMMER, HOLLYWOOD MOTION PICTURE).  We were kind of geeking out.  These glimpses did not come easy mind you, about 15 of us were stuffed into an RTA booth wielding binoculars and cameras, just waiting for anything cool to happen.

At one point, a small group of Bieber look-alikes wandered by and some production person came out, gave them all bracelets, and they got to go into the trenches.  After about a half hour they came out, and explained that one of the boys was the nephew of the chief of police, so it was arranged that they could visit the set.  They informed us that not only were the three superheros in there, so was ScarJo herself, although we never caught a glimpse of her.

Around 12:30 am, Chris Evans left the set, and we were standing about 30 feet from where vehicles were entering and exiting, so the few of us there waved to him and he sheepishly waved back – he seemed kind of introverted.  Or maybe he thought we were all stupid.  Around 1 am, I notice Loki walking toward the SUVs, with a few assistants around him, also in full costume.  My sis begins jumping up and down, and he noticed and laughed and waved.  As his vehicle drove by, he rolled down the window and leaned out and yelled back.  It was quite fun, especially since we kind of figure the reason he did that was because she was so excited – the rest of us were just standing around.  As he drove away, Lil’ Professor X was so happy and thrilled, she might as well have been on crack.

What makes this whole story a billion times cooler? (Or lame, depending on your opinion) We wake up the next morning to find the video of what happened on YouTube! Unbeknownst to us, a few guys nearby were filming (with a damn fine camera, I might add) and caught the whole thing.  You can’t see us, but you can hear the sis professing her love, and I’m the nerd who says “Thomas Hiddleston” (in answer to some other random strangers asking us if we even knew his real name).  Said video (shown above) has wound up on some other sites, and has been reblogged, gif’ed, and screencapped to the high heavens, due to the ginormous internet female fanbase that Hiddleston inspires, the “Hiddlestoners.”  Hell, a cast member even tweeted one such gif.  Man, I flipping love pop culture, and the internet.  What a bizarre world we inhabit.

X’s story of her most magical night, in her own cuckoo words:       http://strobe.tumblr.com/post/9414152493


Don’t Even Bother With My Heart

You know I have high standards for romantic comedies.  Or rather, I want to, it’s just that so few actually meet them.  Hollywood has pumped out one predictable, gag-tastic disappointment after another over the past several years and I’m loathe to admit that upon seeing the previews for each one, my sad, love-starved little hopes stirred and swelled with anticipation.  At first introduction to the latest attempt to trump the iconic When Harry Met Sally…, it happened again.  My expectations ambitiously rose.  And this time, they were only half let down.

Friends With Benefits, like all romantic comedies, is predictable in its formulaic plot and often trite dialogue.  It trips over (but quickly recovers from) several of the usual pitfalls.  He’s commitment-phobic, jaded by his parents’ broken marriage and father’s illness; she’s emotionally scarred, so warped by her mother’s series of disastrous relationships and lack of a father that she clings to the notion of Prince Charming and true love, fairy tale-style.  The movie opens with each getting dumped by their significant other and told they’re damaged goods.  They meet, their friendship blossoms and the inevitable “just sex, no emotions” pact is made, sealed with right hand on iPad Bible app.

Issue no. 1: why does Hollywood continue to pretend that gals like Mila Kunis aren’t abnormally attractive?  I like Kunis and I’d like to see her in more movies, but whatever character she plays should openly own the fact (yes, it’s a fact) that she is smoking hot.  Stop making her pretend that she’s just an average girl with all of our average-girl insecurities.  Try as you might, we won’t buy it.

The more serious issues I have are with the attempts at serious, heartfelt dialogue.  Here are a few actual lines from the movie: “You’re great together.”  “This is the happiest I’ve ever seen you.”  “You’re perfect for each other.”  “If you think that there’s even a chance that she could be it, you fix it.”  Swear to god, those are the literal, word-for-word lines.  I’m sure they’re lines (maybe with slight variations) from at least a dozen other romantic comedies of the past 20 years.  Nothing original there.  The lowest moment, in my opinion, was Justin Timberlake’s father opening up to him about “the one who got away” so as to prevent him from making the same mistake.  Really?  How many times have we seen that gem?

All that being said, FWB is entertaining and well worth a watch.  It did not have the warm, glow worm effect on me that my most treasured romantic comedies have but it’s cute and very, very funny.  The supporting characters, including the likes of Woody Harrelson and Jenna Elfman, are charismatic and give the two leads much needed depth.  (Side note: I adore Woody Harrelson.  Period.  And why doesn’t Jenna Elfman get more, and better, roles?  She is the embodiment of charm.)  And the minute cameos by Andy Samberg and Emma Stone were super funny, if way too short.  Timberlake and Kunis have great chemistry as friends and as lovers and seemed to have a ton of fun, making the movie fun to watch.

Which leads me to this flick’s real saving grace: the sharp, hilarious banter between not only the leading couple, but nearly all of its characters.  It’s full of great quips, fast, clever one-liners and snarky pop culture references.  I defy anyone who doesn’t literally laugh out loud at at least one line uttered in nearly every scene.  Even the cheeseball, too-serious moments referenced above are quickly made up for with the sharp-tongued repartee that immediately follows.  Also, there is LOADS of sex, complete with MK side-boob and JT’s rippling abs.  And it isn’t the melodramatic, too-magical-for-reality sex that movies usually showcase, but sex involving awkward positioning, muscle cramps and “Wait!  I have to go to the bathroom!” right in the middle.  You know, like real life shit.  When Jamie (Kunis) gives Dylan (Timberlake) lessons on his oral performance, I simultaneously laughed out loud and wanted to applaud the woman bold enough to actually say: “What are you trying to do – dig your way to China?  You’re not a lizard.”  Right on, chicka.


I Hope You Choose The One That Means The Most To You

A couple of weeks ago, my co-blogger posted this gem about the differences between men and women regarding what each gender finds attractive and what they look for in a mate.  I don’t want to repeat a post, or bore anybody, but I came across something that reaffirmed my feelings on the subject (which are right on par with hers), and I’d like to elaborate on this topic.

Source - blogs.bbcamerica.com

BBC’s Anglophenia blog, which provides many nuggets of info regarding British entertainment and celebs, is currently running a poll of “Fan Favorites, the Men of 2011.”  It’s kinda like March Madness (without the easy bracket to look at, sadly), and as I type this, they’re down to the final four.

Who are these four studs, these stallions of youth and sex appeal?  Not who you’d think, I’m sure.  I need to step aside before I tell you their names and mention that a couple of these guys, I’d quickly abandon my life for to run away with, in the Lost In Translation of my dreams.  I find these guys majorly sexy, but this post is not about my personal thoughts on the appeal of these men, it’s about WOMEN OVERALL, and I think the final four is a study in the female psyche.

Drumroll, please.  The final four are:  Alan Rickman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, and David Tennant.  All four of these men are over the age of 36, and not typically “hunky” in the manner of, say, Sean Bean, or Tom Hardy (who were both beaten badly by our semi-finalists).  I also want to tell you a few of the dudes these bastions of awesomeness decimated.  Second drumroll:  Robert Pattinson (peace out, you pre-pubescent, controlling, sparkly douche), Ewan McGregor (oh, Christian, :( ), Liam Neeson, Christian Bale, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Simon Pegg, Jason Statham, Gerard Butler, Stephen Moyer, Matthew MacFadyen, Hugh Laurie, Henry Cavill, Daniel Craig. . . the list goes on.

Imagine if you will, what “The Women of 2011″ poll might look like.  I feel safe in assuming (making me an asshole, of course) that the final four would all be ladies under the age of 25 (certainly the youngest on the list would NEVER be 36!), who are smoking hot.  Sure, they might be smart or interesting as well, but that would be the icing on the cake.  They would have won the poll by being young and beautiful.

So what do the final four men have in common???  They all give the impression of being wise, mature, witty (like they would slay you with their dry, British cleverness), slightly mysterious, slightly reserved, and are all full of substance and talent.  We women don’t care what you look like, as long as you are a worthwhile being, can make us laugh and win at Jeopardy.  I think all four of these guys fit that bill.  Oh and also, two of them are death eaters (I will never miss an opportunity to use a Harry Potter reference), and two of them have voices that will make your panties melt away – as in liquefy and evaporate.

I believe this poll ends next week, and I think Rickman will take the prize.  He’s generally adored by hordes of fans around the world (many of them women, myself included), and one of the finest actors working today.  He’s also 65.  That’s an amazing feat; I imagine that if I make it to the sixth decade of my life, the only list I’ll be on is the clipboard in my doctor’s office waiting room.  This all just supports my hypothesis that as people age, the traits and physicalities they pick up along the way are all attributes that females find alluring, and men find cumbersome.

*Whines and stomps feet at unfairness of it all*                                                                  ~Annie

**UPDATE 9/3/11** Rickman won, I called it. :)~ Also, they’ve officially begun the “woman of 2011″ poll as well….

Super duper scientific study

All facts and figures are TRUE

Something Evil’s Lurking In The Dark

I got to tell you: this wasn’t easy for me.  I loved, I mean LOVED, the original Fright Night.  Nostalgia aside, it’s quite the enjoyable horror flick.  Rife with teenage angst, smoldering sexual tension, gory blood-sucking violence and plenty of sharp, albeit silly, humor.  Not to mention Chris Sarandon, arguably the greatest vampire of the 80s.  So when I heard they were doing a remake, I filled with a mix of conflicting emotions.  Among them: excitement, anxiety, even dread.  That’s right.  Dread of that vile, over-the-top, melodramatic rewrite that has ruined the memory of the original for thousands.  The fact that Colin Farrell and Anton Yelchin were cast in the two lead roles did offer some hope, but still, there are no guarantees.

Now that I’ve seen it (in 3D no less), I feel a weight has been lifted.  Not only did it not taint my beloved memory of the 1985 cult classic, it may have even enhanced it.  Because they changed enough (by that I mean, a lot) to have originality but kept the best parts of what made the OG work in the first place.  It’s funny, creepy, occasionally sexy and, by and large, entertaining.  There are some holes, some changes I wasn’t wild about, but overall, I liked it.  Yelchin continues to prove he’s an actor to watch (that’s right, Charlie Bartlett, y’all) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse gave the character of Evil Ed an entirely different spin.  I admit I found the former Evil Ed a more likable character but it was a relief to see him creatively altered and not just a regurgitated version of the original.  Plus, I’m totally in the minority when it comes to the guy Stephen Geoffreys played.

I was most impressed by Colin Farrell’s portrayal of Jerry the vampire.  Chris Sarandon rocked this character so wonderfully, so scarily and sexily and with such intensity, and at times so venomously, I had my doubts about Farrell as his replacement.  Look, I adored Colin Farrell in In Bruges, but to be a vampire who is intoxicatingly sexy one minute and make-you-crap-your-pants frightening the next?  I just wasn’t sold.  That is, until I actually sat down and watched it.  His Jerry was different, for sure, but it worked.  He was at first charming and studly, then creepy and intimidating, then pure, wrathful evil that seemed a force impossible to defeat.

For me, the only real disappointment was David Tennant as Peter Vincent.  I loved all the changes to the character and his story and Tennant gave a decent enough performance (though, once or twice, it seemed he tried a little too hard to channel Russell Brand) but the new Vincent just wasn’t the major player he was in the ’85 flick.  He came into the film kind of late and his awesome, weapon-riddled apartment played a more vital role than he did.  Not a major complaint, just something that could have been better.

The best part (in my opinion) is that watching either the 2011 version or the 1985 original will not in any way spoil the other for anyone interested in seeing both.  They’re equally entertaining flicks, each with enough originality to be seen not as different tellings of the same story, but as individual awesome scary movie viewing experiences.  Word.