Friday, January 11, 2013

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. The Watch - While it is a confusing mixture of  a sci-fi alien invasion flick and buddy comedy, the movie is far more entertaining than I was led to believe.  Yes, the narrative is a bit all over the place and Ben Stiller gets more annoying with every movie he makes, but the other three actors (Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade) make a really great comedic trio.  It would have benefited greatly if it deleted all the melodramatic bullshit (specifically, Ben Stiller's "issue") and instead focused on the humor.  I am in complete amazement at the range of items you can buy at a Costco - seriously, you can buy televisions there??  I've never been in one before because I always thought it sold items in bulk (I live alone, so I have no use for this).  It's definitely great advertising for them, because I totally want to go to one now.  I can't say that The Watch is really all that memorable or even good, but I was entertained while watching it, which I think is all it set out to do.

2. Beasts of the Southern Wild - Powerful, beautiful, imaginative and poetic.  All of these adjectives have been used to describe this little gem of a movie and I agree completely.  Quvenzhane Wallis is incredible - this is a case where an untrained child actor works brilliantly with the material (as opposed to the kids in Moonrise Kingdom).  My heart just broke the second she began speaking - her Oscar nomination is well deserved, as is the nomination for the director, Benh Zeitlin (but aaaaaah! No Ben Affleck??  More thoughts about this in a future post). I was expecting the movie to be more of a depressing drama about the devastation of hurricane Katrina, but I was not expecting the creativity of the narrative or the oddly uplifting message that the movie presents.  It's such a pleasant surprise and I highly recommend it to anyone who appreciates the film medium as an art form.

3. Cosmopolis - After the disappointingly bland A Dangerous Method, I was cautiously waiting for Cronenberg's next project.  I am happy that he has returned to form.  Cosmopolis looks and feels like a Cronenberg movie.  While I don't love all of the choices he made, I do love the ambition of the film and that all of the choices (good and bad) are completely unexpected.  Starting with the casting, I was never quite convinced that Robert Pattinson can act, but it was definitely an unexpected choice to have him headline a film like this.  He isn't awful, and he actually gets better as the film goes on (by the end, I would even describe his acting as "good").  He begins to revel in his new-found freedom and it's fantastic to witness.  Another surprise, is the way Cronenberg directed the character Elise to speak in this sort of 40's film noir style.  I didn't like it, but it was certainly interesting.  My favorite scene was with her and Rob, when they coldly discuss their relationship. The dialogue is fascinating, in a robotic sort of way ("We're like people talking.  Is this how people talk?"  "How would I know". ).  I think upon a re-watch of the film, I will fall in love with it.  It's just something that needs to be seen multiple times, to really "get" all of it. 

4. Sleepwalk With Me - Comedian Mike Birbiglia is a likable enough guy, but he's not exactly laugh-out-loud funny. I know that is harsh, seeing that the film is about his struggle as a comedian, but it failed at convincing me that he is actually funny.  That being said, I still enjoyed the movie.  It's a "true" story of Mike's challenging career aspirations as an up-and-coming comedian, his struggle to follow his passion, his aversion to settling and how this effects his relationship. *spoilers ahead* I found the relationship between him and his girlfriend (played by Lauren Ambrose) of 7 years troublesome from the beginning.  I don't really understand the whole marriage thing - her spending the whole movie pressuring him, was really frustrating.  She even states "If we aren't going to get married, then I need to figure something else out." response would have been "goodbye".  Depictions of relationships like this just frustrate the hell out of me.  I think that it's something that would have come up at some point before the 7 year mark, and if you have a consistent, open dialogue with your partner then issues like this would never happen.  If you don't then you shouldn't be together.  Period.  It was a happy surprise that they ended their relationship rather amicably and maturely, instead of some dramatic fall-out.  Also, it would totally suck to sleepwalk.  Seems a bit dangerous (and not at all funny).

5. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - First off, I don't understand the sport of fishing. Like at all.  I remember someone telling me how they put fish in a lake near my apartment and I thought how ridiculous it is that people catch fish, then release them, so that others can catch the same fish.  How is that fun?  The movie is just as boring and pointless as I imagine fishing is.  I've never seen Emily Blunt so dull (although can someone please buy me that dress that she wears in the beginning? I won't look as beautiful, but I will be your best friend. Thanks.).  I failed to see any chemistry between her and Ewan McGregor.  There was also this awful "inspirational" soundtrack that became so grating that I wanted to rip my ears off.  Kristin Scott Thomas was the only highlight, but she seemed to be disconnected from the plot - almost like she was in a completely different movie (a funny one).  The rest of the movie was cheesy, predictable and melodramatic.

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