Monday, August 24, 2009

...And We're Back


Well…I’m back from the honeymoon and ready to get back to this whole blogging thing. That picture above was taken at the Canadian Iron Chef's restaurant (for all you Food Network fans) The Cactus Grill (or something like that...the food and beer were delicious. They have some good breweries there in Victoria, not as good as here in the Northwest...but I digress) However, I don’t have a review of The Limey ready yet because…well I just haven’t had the time. It’s funny – when you get married how things change. I don’t mean in a bad way, though, I mean in an “I have to go to the store and buy a plunger” kind of way. Therefore any momentum I may have had watching a film or attempting to write about one as been stunted as my wife and I try to get settled into the apartment and acclimated to married life. Here, though, is a brief recap of some of the films my wife and I watched while on the honeymoon:



500 Days of Summer:

My wife and I went to Victoria, B.C. for our honeymoon…it’s one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited…anyway…they have a pretty decent theater there that was playing The Hurt Locker and 500 Days of Summer. The former proved to be too intense for my wife so we decided to see 500 Days of Summer, a film I have been looking forward to. I wasn’t too disappointed, either. The film was harmless enough and definitely delivered on some genuine laughs. I liked the way the film poked fun at these emo guys who bitch and moan about every little detail of a conversation, and read way too much into things. They are no better than the blabbering idiots on "Sex and the City". I liked that the filmmakers were willing to celebrate the brooding nature of its main character (played wonderfully by Joseph Gordon-Levitt who reminded me a lot of myself when I was about 18-23, hehe) and poke fun at him for doing more talking about the situation than acting. I also liked the detours into whimsy that the film takes. There’s a great moment where Levitt’s character breaks into a dance number and little cartoon birds fly by. I also liked when Levitt’s character is all dour and the film breaks off into a parody of French New Wave and Bergman films.

The female lead, Zoey Deschanel, was good enough – however she seemed to be playing that same type of role she’s been in other films like All the Real Girls and Elf. And I think it’s a given now that she has to sing in every film. But she does have an aura about her that makes it easy for the male viewer to empathize with Levitt’s dilemma. It’s a tricky performance because her sprite-like nature teeters on adorable to really effing annoying.

I really enjoyed the way the film shifted its narrative to represent how we all think upon things in an unordered manner. I also really enjoyed the way one scene plays out where we get a split screen of what a characters expectations are, which plays out on the left side of the screen, versus the reality of the situation, which plays out on the right side of the screen. It’s a nice effect that leads to a pretty good dramatic moment.

Levitt has been on a role lately. He’s really good in this, and he’s been showing his acting chops in films like Brick and The Lookout. I’m excited to see what he keeps doing in the future as I think he’s one of the more interesting young actors out there.

I thought 500 Days of Summer was a good film…made even better by the fact that two 18-year old girls were boozin’ it up in the front of the theater. I mean they were really, really drunk. They didn’t ruin too much of the movie, but they were a huge distraction for part of it. But I didn’t really care. I was on vacation. And they proved to be more entertaining than parts of the movie. I’m sure 500 Days of Summer will atop a lot of peoples list as the “indie hit of the year”.

Across the Universe:

My wife and I watched this one in the hotel. I hadn’t seen it, and she really liked it. I ended up reading through most of it. I really hated this movie. Julie Taymor is a talent. That’s for sure. But man did she need to be reined in on this one. Across the Universe is sensory overload. I don’t mind films that are beautiful to look at and nothing more (I really like Tarsem’s films, and I enjoyed Taymor’s debut the 1999 film Titus), but between the hyperkinetic visuals and the constant music and the total lack of narrative (not to mention a poor attempt to string together these classic songs by The Beatles…I mean seriously…another movie about the 60’s, ugh.) I completely lost interest in this film. Some of the musical numbers were really nice, but that was only when the film slowed down enough to let you realize you were listening to great music. And dear God that Bono sequence almost made me completely give up Beatles songs. Not a good movie experience for me.

17 Again:

Ha. Yes my wife and I watched this the other night. So sue me…I wanted something light for the evening as we had just gotten home from the honeymoon and I wasn’t in the mood for anything besides a dorky comedy. I will say that I can see why all the girls like Zac Efron. He has a charm about it him that seems lost on most new Hollywood stars. He reminds me of a less annoying version of the young Tom Cruise. And Leslie Mann is pretty funny in this movie. The film did manage to pull some actual laughs out of me, but it’s a completely predictable and forgettable film. But I didn’t regret watching it, and it was what it was: harmless. There are so many more movies that deserve being ripped apart. I’m glad that there are still people out there who can make these simple body-switch movies. Oh, and to my surprise it was directed by the guy who made Igby Goes Down. Huh.

The Wrestler:

I talked about this movie a lot here last year. My wife hadn’t seen it so I decided to watch it again. I still really like the movie for all the obvious reasons (Rourke’s performance, the metaphor of wrestlers as family, the parallels between Cassidy and Randy’s performances, etc.), but the stuff with Randy’s daughter (horribly played by Evan Rachel Wood) almost sinks the film. There are scenes that are so predictable and cringe worthy that it’s almost like they are being played as parody. Evan Rachel Wood is clearly not an actress who can do drama because she knows not of nuance. Overacting like that only shows up on Lifetime movies. Still I didn't mind watching it again. Just not the blow-away-movie that a lot of people thought it was last year.


Well that’s all I watched while on the honeymoon. I’m ready to get back in the swing of things here at Hugo Stiglitz. I will be seeing The Hurt Locker and Inglorious Basterds (I like that a character is named Hugo Stiglitz in the film) sometime this week. So I’ll be back with reviews of those films and a review of The Limey for my Revisiting 1999 project.

I just wanted to say thanks again everyone for your kind words of congratulations and for wishing my wife and me your best. It means a lot. I look forward to getting back to normal and talking film with all of you. Until then…

11 comments

  1. I can sympathize with your reaction to Across the Universe. I could only take about ten minutes of it until I skipped ahead to glimpse at later chapters on the DVD. Then I turned it off. The film gave me a good case of the howling fantods.

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  2. It sounds like you guys had a very nice honeymoon. And actually managed to catch a few films as well. But 17 AGAIN?!!!! Oh dear... ; )

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  3. Sounds like the honeymoon was a success! The best to you and the missus.

    And you know, personally I think you and I being married at a relatively early age to attractive women should give hope to Simpsons nerds everywhere...

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  4. FilmDr:

    The film gave me a good case of the howling fantods.

    Ha! One of the best lines I've read in a long, long time. Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. J.D.:

    The honeymoon was great. And yes, 17 Again...it was free, though...if that's any help as to why I rented it. Also we don't have cable yet...hence the need to rent something mindless.

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  6. Jon:

    Truer words have never been spoken. I get up everyday wondering how I lucked out, hehe. Oh, and as I'm sure you know, The Simpson's Season 12 is out. What an underrated season! I'm on disc 2 now, and I forgot a lot about some of the great episodes: The Computer Who Wore Menace Shoes, The Great Money Caper, Worst Episode Ever, etc.

    Proof that all the No-Homer's are wrong when they say that the show died when Oakley and Weinstein stopped running the show.

    So far through two discs the only complaints I have are that the commentaries aren't nearly as lively as ther last few seasons. They need as much Mirkin and Meyer on there as possible. I do love Matt Selman, though.

    Thanks again for the kind words. I look forward to getting things back to normal and watching some westerns soon.

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  7. There were a few moments in Across the Universe I actually enjoyed, one was Strawberry Fields and the other was I want you for Max being drafted. But in all those were just clever moments in the movie, that could not save the movie on a whole.

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  8. Brandon:

    Yeah, I actually liked the I Want You part, too. Even though the animation almost ruined it for me. Hehe.

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  10. Priceless photo there Kevin! Nice to see you up an drunning and best wishes for a happy marriage!

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