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Carlos Alcala
Carlos Alcala
Carlos Alcalá is a journalist with 25 years of experience. He is also the Chick Flick Guy, a blogger on romantic comedies and other movies often seen as for women. And he is the Whys Guy, an author and expert on the histories of Sacramento area street names.
 

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Nov. 23, 2011 6:07 pm
So this is what straight-forward storytelling looks like. "Like Crazy" (2011) is about as simple a tale of love as you can get. No high concept. No big stars. No troublesome complications. Just one simple, believeable mistake that changes everything. Anna, the English girl, and Jacob, the American boy, fall in love at college in California. She (Felicity Jones) sees him (Anton...  Read More
Nov. 23, 2011 6:06 pm
"Manhattan" wouldn't be the same film if it were taken out of Manhattan. "Chicago" has to happen in Chicago and "Nashville" in, well, you know. The movie "Elizabethtown" (2005) doesn't seem to require its particular Kentucky locality to tell its story, but it is a lovable story all the same. Drew (Orlando Bloom) comes to his father's hometown to handle the arrangements...  Read More
Nov. 17, 2011 2:20 pm
Rappers gonna act, Try to make it in a chick flick. Say it's hard, that’s a fact, Tryin' to make the movie trick stick. Ok, that’s more than enough rhymes from Flickmaster Guy. On to the topic of acting rappers. Having a singer in a movie is nothing new. In fact, the first feature talkie was “ The Jazz Singer ,” right? But rap, a genre that lives on its outlaw reputation, is always going...  Read More
Nov. 17, 2011 2:12 pm
The first cast member listed on IMDB for this French movie is a certain American superstar/heart throb. I didn’t realize that when I started watching the film and, when he appeared, I thought, “That French guy has a lot of Johnny Depp's style.” It was, of course, Johnny Depp. If you watch this because you are a big fan of him, you may be disappointed. Or maybe not. Depp is not in the film...  Read More
Nov. 17, 2011 2:03 pm
A long time back, my eldest told me there are only two topics for writers: love and death. (Actually, he said sex and death, but I'm trying to be more genteel.) Those are the prime motivators for humans, and they can even be seen as flip sides of the urge to immortality. If you're loved, you continue live even after you die, even if you don't replicate your genes in the form of kids. Patrick...  Read More
Nov. 17, 2011 1:58 pm
" Flipped ." Did you even hear of this movie when it came out in 2010? I certainly didn't, and now I can’t even remember what led me to put it in my Netflix queue. I’m glad I did, even if it is the kind of film I'd be embarrassed to be holding in a checkout line, unless I was with a kid of a certain age. What am I doing watching a love story between children? OK, I know Shakespeare's Juliet was...  Read More
Nov. 17, 2011 1:53 pm
Now's the time of year when the movie industry releases a lot of movies we'll never have time to see, what with all the holiday preparations to tie us up. For some reason, movies you don't have time for in November and December are called holiday movies, although only a few of those are actually about November-December festivities. Even without new ones, there are approximately 3.2 billion...  Read More
Nov. 17, 2011 1:41 pm
Romances between two people of different caste have taken place in storyland at least since David took up with Bathsheba, so it’s no surprise that resourceful (i.e. unoriginal) rom com writers have picked it up as a plot device. It's sometimes called the Upstairs Downstairs romance, though that may more strictly refer to relations between a boss and a servant or underling. When he’s from the...  Read More
Nov. 17, 2011 1:31 pm
" Roxanne " (1987) and " Cyrano de Bergerac " (1990) are two terrific films in which the romance of written words wins the heart of a beautiful woman. How can a writer (meaning me) not enjoy that? It's a great premise, even if I know that it's different in real life. In real life, the words that seem to most enchant a loving woman are, "Yes, dear, I remembered to put down the toilet seat." These...  Read More
Nov. 17, 2011 1:24 pm
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young woman in possession of a good fiancé must be in want of someone else to fall in love with. At least, that's the way it often works in romantic comedies. I've listed eight and there are still others. Such films forever put us on the threshold of the wedding chapel, only to wag a finger and say, “Uh-uh, not so fast.” Quicker than you can say,...  Read More
Nov. 17, 2011 1:19 pm
American romantic comedies are kind of like American food: We've invented a few great dishes, but we spend a lot of time borrowing from other cuisines. (We even borrowed the word cuisine.) Maybe that's why the makers of the 2007 cooking comedy " No Reservations " decided to copy the marvelous 2001 German dish, “ Mostly Martha .” The two films - one German and one American - rank in quality much...  Read More
Nov. 17, 2011 1:15 pm
If you have a Jane Austen book club there are only six books to discuss - the six that Austen left behind when she died. If, on the other hand, you have a Jane Austen Movie Club, there are new films coming out all the time. There have been more than 50 since 1938, according to the Internet Movie Database - features, TV series, adaptations and films about Austen - and they don't even include the...  Read More
Nov. 17, 2011 1:10 pm
In yesterday's piece on the lovable geekiness of Michael Cera , I noted that there doesn't seem to be a feminine equivalent - a romantic comedy heroine who starts out awkward and winds up with the guy despite the fact that she doesn't turn into Cinderella. She - like Cera - is one who stays awkward and stays homely, but is loved for something else. A couple of suggestions were floated: What...  Read More
Nov. 17, 2011 1:04 pm
It is only in romantic comedies that you find full realization of the adolescent fantasy in which the awkward geek gets the girl who is way above his coolness grade. I’m not sure what this storyline might offer to the women who watch Michael Cera movies – I am still a guy, after all – but it offers hope to the unrequited and generally immature male who can identify with his pain. In other...  Read More
Nov. 17, 2011 12:21 pm
Never before (or after) has a movie that I loved this much made me feel so bad. “ (500) Days of Summer ” (2009) is a terrific film of the quirky-yet-commercial variety. The way it hops back and forth around the 500-day calendar is terrific, giving you choice bits of the story in non-chronological order, without giving away too much. The retro feel is inspired, the sage little sister character is...  Read More
Nov. 17, 2011 12:12 pm
Out of ancient times (the 1980s) came a holy trinity of classic films that combined dance, romance and breaking the trance of conventionality. There was “ Footloose ” (dancing in the country), “ Flashdance ” (dancing in the city) and “ Dirty Dancing .” (City girl, dancing in the country.) If you question my use of the adjective holy for dancing movies, I cite Kevin Bacon in "Footloose," citing...  Read More
Nov. 17, 2011 12:03 pm
Nick Hornby, the English author of “High Fidelity,” is a guy’s guy. (I would say “a man’s man,” but I’m the Chick Flick Guy .) In all his books – the six or seven I’ve read – Hornby shows he knows the modern chap inside and out. He sees our flaws and sympathizes with our woes. And yet, his books beg to be turned into chick flicks. Why is that? It’s because Hornby’s male type specimen is...  Read More
Nov. 17, 2011 11:53 am
Once upon a time, when people acted like they didn’t like each other, it meant they actually didn’t like each other. In the modern romantic comedy, it means they’re going to fall in love. (Although, sometimes when people act like they don't like each other, it's called modern marriage.) Every romantic comedy needs an obstacle for its lovers to overcome. What better obstacle could there be than...  Read More
Nov. 17, 2011 11:51 am
Nobody is going to put John Cusack into a romantic role opposite his sister Joan Cusack -- God, I hope not -- but they still have great film chemistry. Their phone interactions in “Grosse Pointe Blank” are classic, especially when Marcella (Joan) cradles the phone while she works to burn down their office. The movie is all about John’s hired assassin Martin Blank and Minnie Driver ’s Debi...  Read More
Nov. 17, 2011 11:45 am
“ Easy A ” doesn’t wear its literary pedigree on its sleeve. Nope, it’s stitched prominently on its revealing bodice. This catchy update of “The Scarlet Letter” never gets tired of reminding you what Great American Novel it's based on, right down to the big, red A on actress Emma Stone ’s chest. You can’t miss it really, unless (as sometimes happens) her décolletage distracts your attention....  Read More
Nov. 17, 2011 11:35 am
These five aren't the kind of film I saw in high school. Back then, English teachers showed us movies of "Macbeth," "Fahrenheit 451," and even a cartoon version of "Animal Farm," knowing not everyone was actually going to read the book. Likewise, in “Easy A” (No. 4 below), Thomas Haden Church ’s Mr. Griffin is frustrated by modern students who think watching Demi Moore’s “ Scarlet Letter ” is a...  Read More
 
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