Sunday, June 10, 2007

Movies and more movies

Four movies I haven't written about yet, two from last weekend and two from this. My diet on weekends is comprised primarily of popcorn and diet coke. I can't watch tv, even my 36 inch LCD screen, because it seems too small in comparison. I keep going back to the theater. I guess it's summer. Or boredom. I don't know.

Last weekend was "Knocked Up," and "Crazy Love." "Knocked Up" suffered the curse of being over-hyped, and so I wasn't able to fully enjoy it as a quirky comedy, which I might have, given its pedigree. But Judd Apatow scored with "40 Year Old Virgin," so now he's "mainstream." The film is still pretty good, and has some really funny moments, but I would have liked it to be a bit shorter, or maybe faster paced. I think "Virgin" had better pacing and movement; there were moments in this that slowed down to the point of boredom. Or maybe it's just me; I don't think that getting pink eye from someone farting on your pillow is funny enough to warrant five minutes of screen time. Yawn. The rest of the audience seemed to think differently, judging by the laughter erupting around me. Maybe that's my problem: I don't laugh out loud very often, so when the rest of a movie crowd is practically falling out of their seats, I think I am missing something, and I resent it.

"Crazy Love" is a documentary about this couple. In the late 50's she rejected him, he paid someone to blind and disfigure her. In the 1970's, after he was released from prison, they married. Now they narrate the story of how those two events co-exist in the same reality. I'm not sure you leave the theater really understanding their relationship, but it's entertaining in a twisted, squirm-enducing way. I feel dirty having watched it, and dirtier having to admit I enjoyed it.

This weekend, another mainstream film and an independent. "Chalk" is a mockumentary of the Christopher Guest/"The Office" sort, with a camera pretending to follow real-life high school teachers. I actually thought it was a real documentary until I was sitting in the theater waiting for it to start, and decided to check out the running time on my Treo's Vindigo download, which led me to glance at the Time Out review. I wonder how long it would have taken me to realize it was fake; since the actors are relative unknowns, it wasn't an easy catch. At least until a character had a dream fantasy played out on the screen. The film is somewhat cute and funny and makes you think about the difficulty of being a teacher, but it also suffered from wildly jittery camerawork. I get that the shaking hand-held cam is a stylistic choice, meant to convey that this is "real" and shot on the fly, but it can be overdone, and it was here, unnecessarily. I don't need a closeup of someone's earlobe as someone else is talking, thank you. Unless you are trying to pass this off as being filmed by a kindergartener, it's just annoying. I liked two of the leads, though, who are played by Janelle and Troy Schremmer, a real-life married couple. (I had to come home and look them up, to make sure they weren't siblings, since they do have a semi-romantic interlude. It's odd to have married actors with the same name, though, right?)

And then there's "Ocean's 13." Yes, it's fun and fast and attractively shot, and George Clooney and Brad Pitt are their usual charming hotties. I agree with the critics that it beats "12," too, although I'm not sure it's much more than that it's more cohesive, since the action centers on one big job. You could see worse popcorn-lite films (and I have,) and if you like pretty boys (and Ellen Barkin's breasts*), it's good fun.

I did something else this weekend that I've never (I think) done. After "Chalk" ended, I wandered up the stairs to another theater and slipped into a showing of "Once." It was about half over, but I wanted to see it again now that I've been listening to the soundtrack. It is exactly as I thought - better on a repeat viewing, when you are already enamored with the music. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova are incredibly endearing, and watching them adds another dimension to their wonderful singing.

* Seriously, what is up with them? In one scene they look like two balloons stuck unevenly to her ribs. Like a photo from In later scenes they are fixed, and more natural looking, so maybe it was a temporary wardrobe malfunction, and not a scene that was re-shot after she went out and bought some new boobs.


Blogger Pynchon said...

Ellen Barkin. Yum.

4:47 PM  

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