Friday, April 30, 2010

Emagine vs. Palladium: Popcorn and slushies

The following is written by guest blogger J.N., who loves popcorn and slushies, and has some definite opinions about their quality differences between Emagine and the Palladium.

There's an important difference between the concessions experience of the Uptown Palladium and Emagine.

At Uptown, the wait in line is twice as long as the already long wait at Emagine. The workers aren't cordial or friendly, or even look like they enjoy life to some modest degree. When I get up to the line, I'm told that they can't give me a fresh bag to refill, even after informing them that it's been kicked around on the floor. Same for the drinks.

Here's another important distinction: At Emagine they butter it FOR you. The Palladium doesn't spend time on this, so shouldn't the lines move faster? Getting the popcorn buttered by them allows them to execute a "progressive dual-layer two-stage buttering application." They fill it halfway, add some butter, fill to the top, and add more butter. This allows for consistent and uniform coverage of all popcorn throughout, from top to bottom. At the Palladium, you must butter after the fact (after the popcorn bag is filled to the top). Trickle-down butternomics doesn't work well here. (Tip: Since refills are free at the Palladium, have them fill it only halfway. This allows you to close the top of the bag and shake to evenly spread the buttery goodness.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"Babies"


Beware the "Babies": although they are cute, they will bore you. From the trailer for this movie, I realized that it would be a documentary, which usually involves interviews and speaking; however, this movie does not really have any speaking scenes, and shows basically exactly what the title advertised: babies, from when they are born to when they finally learn to walk.

The four babies featured in the film are Ponijao, from Namibia; Mari, from Tokyo; Bayar, from Mongolia; and Hattie, from San Francisco. I thought that perhaps the parents would play a major part in the movie as well, but it mostly focuses on the babies themselves. When the parents do appear, it is only as background characters. At the beginning, we see the mothers while pregnant, and then the birth of Bayar; after that, the babies' journey begins. The only interesting thing about this film is that it manages to tell each child's story by showing rather than telling - by the time each of them learn to walk, we have seen them mature from being born, to crawling, to talking (words like "mama" and "dada," anyway).

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Letters to Juliet"

"Letters to Juliet" has a lot of things going for it, but one of the best is the scenery—it takes place in beautiful parts of Italy. It was nice to see this on the big screen. The story ends predictably, however, and so the scenery might be one of the main reasons to see the movie in the theaters.
Sophie (Amanda Seyfried, "Dear John") is in Verona, Italy with her fiancé, Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal, "The Motorcycle Diaries"). Unfortunately, he is much more interested in meeting all of the vendors for his new restaurant than he is with hanging out with Sophie, and she is left to wander the streets of Verona. She goes to Juliet's house and finds that many women write to "Juliet" and post their letters on a wall in her garden; later, she sees a woman gathering all of the letters. Curious, she follows her, and meets the Secretaries of Juliet: women who write back to the heartaches and love problems that the women have written and left on the wall. When Sophie finds a letter stuck in the wall from 1957, she decides to write back, and it is there that the story really begins.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"The Losers"



First of all, I didn't know "The Losers" was based on a comic book series. The movie sometimes went back and forth between shots of actual people and comic sketches (mostly in the beginning) which was kind of cool. There also will definitely be a sequel, and maybe a series, of Losers movies.

"The Losers" are five CIA men who eventually have to go rogue when it turns out that the CIA - one man in particular, the evil Max (Jason Patric, "My Sister's Keeper) - is trying to frame and kill them. The team includes Colonel Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, "Taking Woodstock"), Jensen (Chris Evans, "Fantastic Four"), Roque (Idris Elba, "The Unborn"), Pooch (Columbus Short, "Death at a Funeral"), and Cougar (newcomer Oscar Jaenada), and they are later joined by Aisha (Zoe Saldana, "Avatar"), who gets them home safely from Bolivia. Aisha also hates Max and wants him dead. The Losers are written off as dead after a helicopter crash in Bolivia, and now that they can no longer trust the CIA, they are on their own in finding and killing Max.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"The Back-Up Plan"

"The Back-Up Plan" is not a serious movie, but I was not expecting it to be. Instead, it's a fun, fresh comedy that has more than a few comedic scenes, and it exceeded my expectations.
Jennifer Lopez ("El Cantante") plays a single woman, Zoe, who constantly hears her biological clock ticking away. Since she hasn't yet met "The One," Zoe decides to use artificial insemination to become pregnant. That same day, however, she meets Stan (Alex O'Loughlin, TV's "Three Rivers"), and they soon begin dating. A few weeks later, she finds out she is pregnant - with twins. She finally musters the courage to tell Stan, and although he is understandably confused as to how she is already pregnant, he decides to stay with her and help her raise the children.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"The Joneses"

"The Joneses" is based on an interesting concept: if you are popular, and people see you wearing, using and buying certain products, they will want those products as well. And, to no one's surprise, the concept works.

Mr. and Mrs. Jones (Demi Moore, "Mr. Brooks," and David Duchovny, TV's "Californication") live with their two perfect children (Amber Heard, TV's "Hidden Palms," and Ben Hollingsworth, TV's "The Beautiful Life") in a gigantic house in the suburbs. They have it all - or do they? Turns out that rather than being an actual family, they are each separate businesspeople working for the same company, living together in a family "unit." The two children, who are actually ages 21+, attend high school; Mr and Mrs. Jones live a life of leisure, getting manicures (the Mrs.) and playing golf all day (the Mr.). Their objective is not to own the latest and greatest toys, as provided to them by their company, but to SELL these "toys" to their friends and neighbors. It is product placement, pure and simple, and the best part is that their friends don't even know that they are being conned. Mr. Jones is new to this family unit, but he is Mrs. Jones' sixth "husband," and she is determined to make him successful so that their unit will succeed.