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Tuesday, March 31, 2009  

The Quarter in Movies (Part 1)

One of the nice things about having Chao living up here now is that I have someone to go to movies more often with. In fact, despite my hectic recapping schedule, I've seen more movies in the theater past three months than I did during a few entire calendar years. So it only makes sense to convert the previously annual movie review into a quarterly feature. That way I'm less likely to forget stuff. Although I can't really make any promises.

Yes Man

As always, the first film of the year is from the previous year, but since I saw this on New Year's Day, there wasn't a way around that even if I'd tried. This is not something I would have gone to see on my own, and I didn't. I went with my sisters-in-law, and actually enjoyed it. I thought it was going to be another Jim Carrey supernatural comedy, like Liar, Liar or Bruce Almighty, but it was just about a guy in a rut of negativity who made a conscious decision to go in the other direction. It actually kind of spoke to me. Sometimes Trash thinks I'm too negative and closed off to new ideas, and she's right; I have to make an effort not to be. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that this little movie kind of inspired me to say "yes" more, at least for a while. I'm also really glad that I saw it after the trailer that asked me to see He's Just Not That Into You.


The effects of Yes Man were still lingering into the very next night, when Chao and Gerd invited me to see this with them. I wasn't too excited to see it, since I actually thought the title was Dobut and thus was expecting a totally different kind of movie.

Okay, not really, but I was wary of seeing another film by writer/director John Patrick Shanley. He and I have had kind of a tense relationship since Joe Versus the Volcano. Jvs.tV is a somewhat controversial film, generally regarded as a debacle but with a few passionate defenders. I'm not one of them. I saw a few parallels with this more recent effort. One was that Shanley's ability to evoke a dreary environment remains undiminished, and indeed has been refined in both subtlety and endurance. The other is you can't go to a Shanley movie expecting it to get anywhere in a hurry. And finally, the redhead is going to disappear sometime in the second act.

Quantum of Solace

Febrifuge and I have seen every James Bond movie in the theater together since A View to a Kill. We almost missed this one, but then he was back in town for a six-week rotation, and I sneaked out of work early one Wednesday afternoon, and the streak remains unbroken.

I've been hearing that in recent years, James Bond has been more and more influenced by Jack Bauer, which I can totally see. You know who I'd rather see him getting influenced by? Michael Westen. I'd love James Bond to start explaining everything he's doing in a dry, sarcastic voice-over. If nothing else, maybe it would have helped this movie make more sense. It certainly would have made it more fun.

The Lollipop Girls in Hard Candy

Shit, man, I don't even know where to start with this. Should I say this was the first midnight movie at the Uptown theater that I'd seen in years? That it was the first movie I ever saw in a theater in 3-D? That it was the first pr0n feature I ever sat through? And quite possible the worst movie I've ever seen in my life? Because all of these things are true.

When I told Trash about it the next morning, she thought I was making it up. Yes, she believed me when I told her about the random sexual encounters that opened the film and punctuated it at random intervals, but then when I got to the part where the three ancient Greek soldiers wander into the film and spend the rest of it looking for Troy and each other in lengthy, talky, Vaudeville-inflected scenes, while wearing animal costumes, she thought I was making it up. And then the movie gets weird. In between the Vaudeville routines are random shots of people waving things at the camera, a long and talky plot about a candy company that accidentally invents aphrodisiac lollipops, until it ends with the film's director and screenwriter appearing on screen, the former suicidal. I didn't blame him.

The weirdest thing was taking off the 3-D glasses after two hours. Staring through red and blue lenses had created powerful blue and red afterimages on our eyes. I think that freaked everyone out more than the part where the dude rolled an egg downhill into our faces.

Anyway, Chao wrote a more cohesive review at the time. You're probably better off checking that out.

More big film events coming later this week, including two that begin with W! No, make that three.

posted by M. Giant 6:00 PM 1 comments


I look forward to many more movies together. Besides, Star Trek and Land of the Lost are coming soon - which one am I going to like more? I think writers are losing their imaginations and just rehashing movies they liked as kids. Maybe you should write a new script for Goonies 2 or Neverending Story 2015.

By Blogger Chao, at April 1, 2009 at 7:28 AM  

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