Friday, October 12, 2007

recent movies

I must, once more, apologize for my latency with this blog. I am currently going through what I think must be the busiest semester of my life, and I wish I hadn't sacrificed the frequency of my posts so soon! So instead of dedicating a full blog to each of the movies that I saw towards the end of summer, I'm going to try to sum them up here!

A few weeks ago, I saw Stardust with my dad, after looking forward to it since seeing how radiant (*chortle*) Claire Danes looked in the trailer. It was a very nice father-daughter sort of movie, because it is really no more complicated or heavy than your typical fairy tale. The advertisements did a good job of pointing out that this is a movie about flying pirates, evil witches, and a fallen star, so I was very pleased with what the filmmakers gave us. Though the story is simple and easy enough to understand, it still has enough cute surprises to keep it from being too formulaic. I've heard it referred to as "the next Princess Bride, and I actually think that is a pretty fair assessment. We'll see what kind of a following it gets once it's released on DVD.

At Comic Con I missed the opportunity to see Shoot 'Em Up, but I did get to see Clive Owen and the writer-director discussing it and presenting some clips from the movie. I saw it right after it came out, and quite exceeded my expectations. At times, it was so ridiculous that it almost veered into XXX territory (I'm talking about the movie with Vin Diesel and Asia Argento), but in the end, I was very glad that I had chosen to see it in theaters. Now, there was some sort of story that made me wonder what was going on for about 5 seconds, but once I realized I should just ignore any plot and pay attention to the gunfights and sex, I really started getting the most out of it that I could.

I'm very glad that a new Laemmle theatre opened up just a few blocks away from my school, because I have some really great movies right at my fingertips. I saw Death at a Funeral there, and though I very much enjoyed it, it ended up being a bit different than the American-audience-geared trailer made it seem like it would be. Much more British in its bumbling and quiet than I was expecting, I really felt that there were a lot of heartfelt interactions between the characters. Alan Tudyk is always a pleasure to watch, and didn't overplay the "accidentally high" character, despite the nudity and paranoia. The most impressive part of the film was definitely Peter Dinklage's character. I have often championed blind casting, and I am especially pleased to see LP actors treated with respect in film and television.

I also went to a free screening of In a Day at the Laemmle, and am very glad that I didn't pay money to see it. I could overlook the shortcomings of the actors or the low budget, but there were too many screenwriting and directorial flaws for me to not feel cheated out of my time. I didn't understand any of the character's motivations throughout the entire film, and had trouble sympathizing with anyone onscreen. Also, the continuity editing would sometimes be improperly framed, so there'd be a conversation filmed in shot/reverse-shot, where there were no eyeline matches and incorrect amounts of negative space on both sides of the characters. Just too obviously amateur, I guess. And I wish I weren't so critical of people getting started in the business, but it was not an enjoyable movie to watch.

After much, much waiting, I finally saw Superbad! Now, my good friend and collaborator Esther has decided that it was her favorite movie. I cannot give it nearly that high of a recommendation, but I did enjoy it. Jonah Hill was a bit disappointing, just overacting a little too much, and sometimes seeming like he was reading off cue-cards, but I think it was unfortunate for him that he was acting opposite the impeccable Michael Cera. Michael's subdued performance was very engaging considering the subject matter of the movie, and made me fall in love with him all over again. Christopher Mintz-Plasse as McLovin was much more than the one-note joke that I expected him to be, and I even felt that the cop subplot was funny if taken with a grain of salt.

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