Monday, December 31, 2007

Shawna's top ten of 2007

Now, let's be clear -- these would be the top ten films I ACTUALLY SAW in 2007. Julie saw a lot more films than I did, so her list will probably be better. Still, I saw more than 10 movies in a theater (23 to be exact -- my fewest in probably 15 years), so it has to count for something...

Okay, from 10 to 1 (1 being the best film I saw in 2007):

10. Grindhouse
9. Sunshine
8. Enchanted
7. The Bourne Ultimatum
6. Gone Baby Gone
5. 300
4. Waitress
3. Sweeney Todd
2. Hot Fuzz
1. Ratatouille

Honorable mentions: Atonement and 28 Weeks Later.

1/2 UPDATE - Somehow I completely forgot about "Eagle vs. Shark". I would probably swap it for #8 and push 'Grindhouse' off the list to honorable mention status.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I'm Not There...

...I wish. This was by far the most pretentious piece of cinema I've ever seen. Far be it from me to rain on everyone's turtleneck and beret parade, but I couldn't stand 5 minutes of this film let alone the 135 minutes of self absorbed run time.
Let me put it this way. This movie made me feel like having an argument with a 4 year old child.
"Tommy, did you eat your cereal?"
"No Tommy, the cereal did you eat it?"
"OK. Never mind, you win."

It was how I imagine a trendy loft party in Soho would feel like. I walk in and am immediately stared down by a circle of intellectual snobs complete in turtlenecks and black rimmed glasses. After giving me a good scoffing, they turn their noses back to their original discussion: Jane Austen vs. Emily Dickinson aka Pride and Prejudice? Then I feel weird and stupid and unwelcome and just want to leave. Oh wait, pretty much how I felt the entirety of the movie!

Sometimes I feel like I should be more worldly, more exposed to the art and thoughts around me. So I made the mistake of linking artistic to modern and ended up at the Modern Art Museum one day. There I stood in front of two by fours with a piece of hanging wire glued onto it and, if I was lucky, a stripe of color painted down the middle. Oh and what's that? A Pepsi can tacked to a cardboard box? Uchk. I hate pretentious modern art and I hate ostentatious modern art indie film. Enter, I'M NOT THERE.

I did little research going into the film. I stupidly thought that it was a Bob Dylan biopic in the vein of WALK THE LINE, but turned on it's head a little by the addition of a chick playing Dylan and maybe a few other misanthropes portraying him at various ages. Nope, that's the evil studio version that could have made a fortune and have been the catalyst for throngs of teenagers downloading old Dylan tracks. But alas, Todd Haynes threw caution (and logic) to the wind and said "Screw you guys, I'm making a thought provoking tour de force and I don't care if anyone gets it or not!" Well congratulations Todd, I didn't.

Where the film tries to be symbolic and poetic it's confusing and frustrating. What the heck is a blue whale doing in the film eating the little black kid? Why were none of the versions of Dylan even allowed to be called BOB DYLAN? Why were there documentary style talking head interviews that not only confused the through line, but pulled the film to a dead halt every single time? I can't go on. I seriously don't care and I was seriously annoyed at the end of the movie.

I sat through the entire thing, just waiting, just hoping that eventually they'd wrap it all up to a concise and realistic/actual ending - 'where's Bob today' sort of thing. Sorry, Todd couldn't be bothered.

At least when I watch the tripped out movies HEAD or THE WALL they have an understandable narrative, main characters, and an exciting and fun soundtrack. I'M NOT THERE had the soundtrack.

Monday, December 3, 2007


So Shawna and I got to see a freebie screening of ENCHANTED at the less than enchanting early morning hour of 9am. Shut up, I know 9am isn't early but it's early when you have to get there hours before just to ensure you can beat out a bunch of 6 year olds in line behind you. Our moods couldn't be darkened by even the nosiest of babies crying, talking, whining, seat kicking during the flick - which should basically be enough to tell you we enjoyed it.

Disney has had the stranglehold on the princess market for years now so it's no surprise they felt compelled to grace us with another Halloween costume idea (that we'll no doubt be able to purchase around June '08 for our youth). Not that I have a problem with that whatsoever. Thank God for people who still want young girls to play dress up and play make believe. And although I don't consider myself a feminist, I'm proud to see they took the helpless princess myth (they had a hand in creating) and turning it on it's head for once. Little girls don't necessarily need KILL BILL to show them how to be a strong and independent woman, so it's nice to see they have something in their age range that doesn't smack of apologetic either.

If you haven't seen JUNEBUG, go rent it and feel free to avoid most of the movie and just watch the parts featuring Amy Adams. It's practically her demo reel showcasing her ability to love furry animals, be awed by everything, and her uncanny talent to make everyone around her want to be a better/nicer person. She's incredible at being naive, and more importantly, at just being a good person. She makes the perfect princess and does so without being shrill, precious, or annoying.

There homages left and right, so read the insider Disney blogs before you go to know which receptionist in the movie did the voice for Belle and who was Ariel. Not that any of that matters in the grand scheme of things, but it does make for a little LOST like adventure while you sit.

Although intrigued by ENCHANTED, I did have a few "wha?" moments like why not more Susan Sarandon - in human form she was much more threatening than her cartoon self. Like SPLASH there's a great deal of suspension of disbelief, which I'll go with any day if executed well, however, there wasn't a trace of courage to be found in attempting to flesh out some of the mythology in the film. HOW can a cartoon go from their world to ours? WHY does it have to be in a sewer hold in the middle of NYC? WHY can't an evil witch queen find a way to stop her Prince kid from following the would-be princess? HOW does he know how to get there? And I could go on and on, but again, they didn't HAVE to answer these questions, the movie works without having to, so easy out!

Stop being a self loathing sarcastic shell for a few hours and go see a fun, colorful, smart, and sweet Disney movie that the whole family (literally for once) can enjoy. Afterwards I guarantee you'll be smiling, letting a car cut in front of you on the way out of the parking deck, and it might take at least 2 hours before you fall victim to the sour grapes reality that we all unfortunately, easily melt into.