Monday, June 25, 2007

I'm a-scared!

Movie #7, 1408

I read Carrie for the first time when I was about 12. I figured it was my duty. I liked it, and moved on to Misery. Soon I was reading 1000 page monsters, like IT and The Stand. In 8th grade, when I was finally getting over my horrible middle school introversion, I met a kindred spirit. Nick and I spent many a class passing notes back and forth about Stephen King. One of my strongest middle school memories involves Nick getting a little too chatty--when our German teacher called him disrespectful, he replied, "Oh my fucking God," which seemed like the absolute limit of disrespect. He was promptly removed from class and sent home for a couple days.

Anyway, 13 years later, Nick and I are still friends, even though he lives a half a world away. He's home for a month and a half, and when he suggested that we see a movie, 1408 seemed like the perfect choice.

Based on a short story by Stephen King, 1408 is about a cynical author who writes about haunted places. When he's warned not to go into one particular room in a New York hotel, he can't resist. John Cusack seems bored with his life and bored with acting, but that boredom kinda works here. He turns the juices on when it counts, and the movie is a lot scarier for it.

I don't usually see horror movies in the theater, because I don't like feeling that I can't get away. When I read scary books, or watch scary movies at home, I can always put the book down or hit pause and leave the room for awhile. When you're in a theater, there's nowhere to go and you can't make it stop. I would have liked to hit the old pause button a few times during this one.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Shia LaJailbait


Add this one to the list of soon-to-be Gen-Y teen classics like Mean Girls and... well... dang, is that all they got? Poor suckers. Anyway, this movie is good. It had way more going on than Rear Window. Actually I always fall asleep before Rear Window even ends... in my book, that's never an indication of good pacing. (Sorry, 2001. Sorry, Apocalypse Now.) So Shia LaBeouf (which I think means 'the beef' in French) is very beefy indeed. As if that wasn't enough to make your loins long for teenagerdom, he's even got a smart-assed and incredibly cute Asian-American sidekick (the heretofore anonymous face of Cinema AZN, Aaron Yoo.) Mysterious neighbor David Morse manages to be creepy and sexy in that middle-aged earring way that Harrison Ford's had going on since his 60th birthday. The chicks in this movie are hot, too. Carrie Ann Moss kind of looks like she's wearing a fat suit, but it works for her. But lest you think this movie is all about sex appeal, it also has some laughs and tears and pulse-pounding moments. I daresay it's a great date movie, or a great Friday night rental.

Friday, June 22, 2007


I caught this movie on its last day at the Logan Budget Theater (thanks again, Logan Budget, for pulling through and showing good films when nobody else is!) I sort of, kind of wanted to see this movie, and would have certainly seen it a lot sooner if I had any idea how much it would blow me away. Sorry, but my preconceptions about Indian films are biased. For some reason every Indian-American film has to be about how American-raised Indian children have to deal with their “crazy” parents and fight about whether to date white people or other Indian-Americans. After this movie I feel like nobody should bother trying to touch on these themes again, because this is the definitive treatment (for any family, not just Indian immigrants). The movie is gorgeously filmed from start to finish, the acting is superlative and heartfelt, everything about this film is so perfect that I really wish I could have seen it sooner, just so I could have forced everybody I know to see it in the theater. I spent the last 1/3 of the movie crying, and had to sit through the credits to compose myself. After the credits were done and the lights came up, I left the theater, only to see an 80-something woman sitting by herself in a trance… she was clearly not able to compose herself even after the credits were done, and that made me even sadder. I’m officially editing my Best Of 2006 list and putting this movie in the top 5, if not higher.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I'm back! and I see dead people.

28 Weeks Later
Movie #??

I can't even believe I went to see this. I'm not quite as terrified of zombies as Maya, but I've had enough of them star in my nightmares to know better. Fortunately this relatively strong sequel (as far as horror flicks go) was gorey, but not all that scary. Granted I don't scare easily. Marc's 15-year-old sister (who we successfully convinced to see this instead of Waitress) slept with the lights on.

Even if you didn't like 28 Days Later (and I didn't-- too many repetitive zombie chases, and in broad delight to boot--yuck) you might enjoy this one for its apocalyptic leanings and all-American heroes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ocean’s Thirteen

Yay, the Ocean’s movies are good again! If you want to watch an actiony, slick and witty movie that is entertaining about 98% of its running time, go watch this one. This movie takes my expectations of a summer blockbuster and blows them beyond what I would ever hope for – I’ll even see this one again in the theater! Seriously, it’s weird how often we drag ourselves to the theaters to see these bloated blockbusters that we really don’t want to watch… I mean, we ALL knew Spiderman 3 would blow chunks and be painfully long and insincere, and I know that Pirates 3 will be totally excruciating when I finally choose to see it… but there’s this weird compulsion, or maybe the completionist impulse, that forces me to sit through this shit… Basically I’m trying to say that even though this is the third installment of a trilogy (and the second one was unbelievably bad and self-indulgent), you won’t be disappointed, unless you hate impeccably edited, fun, and splashy movies. Be warned, however: Al Pacino is bizarrely orange. I guess it fits the character he’s playing, but seriously, what happened to him?


Movie #6, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Someone help explain this movie! I saw it this weekend, but I am at a total loss as to how to talk about it. I'm not even sure if I liked it. I don't particularly want to see it again, so maybe that means I didn't?

I also can't say whether it was better or worse than the second film, because I can't remember more than five minutes of that one. And I liked that one. Well, more than most people, anyway.

Guh! Maya? Sandy? Anyone else wanna tackle this one?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Which comedy group reigns supreme?

Movie #5, Knocked Up

Judd Apatow and his stable of funny people have created some of the best television and funniest movies in the past ten years. Freaks and Geeks was wonderful and touching and damn hilarious, and Undeclared... needed more time to live up to its potential. 40 Year Old Virgin was sweet and funny, if a little uneven. Now, I hesitate to say this without re-viewing Freaks and Geeks, but I think Knocked Up is my favorite thing Apatow has ever created.

Er, um, ok, no. I can't do that. Freaks and Geeks is still the best. But Knocked Up is for sure my favorite Apatow movie. I was more attached to these characters, the storyline was located closer to reality, and the laughs were consistent and surprising.

So this led me to this question: which comedy group is the best out there right now? Or the best of all time? I know there's some overlap in all of these, but here are a few:

The Apatow group: includes Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell, Will Ferrell, Jason Segel, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Martin Starr, Leslie Mann, Jane Lynch, Amy Adams AND seems to be mixing with all the awesome people from Arrested Development

The "Frat Pack": includes Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Ben Stiller, David Koechner, Christine Taylor

The Christopher Guest group: includes Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Michael McKean, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, Bob Balaban, Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Lynch, Fred Willard, Harry Shearer, John Michael Higgins, Ed Begley Jr., Michael Hitchcock, Larry Miller

Are there others I'm forgetting? It's hard to argue against the sheer incredible talent of the Christopher Guest crew, but I think maybe these Apatow-adjacent people are becoming the comedy group of this generation. Any thoughts?

I read stacks and stacks of books!

OK, well not stacks. But three is pretty good for me at this point. And I just realized they were all Christmas presents! Thanks Bud's Mom, Brother Eric, and Nicole!

Book #4 - Breakfast at Tiffany's, by Truman Capote

I read this a few months ago, and it was short and delicious, but I don't remember much about it. I'm sure you've all seen the movie.

Book #5, The Nasty Bits, by Anthony Bourdain

Sandy wrote about this last year, so I won't go into too much detail. It's a fun and easy read, like all of his books. This one is less cohesive, by virtue of the fact that it's really just a random assortment of his writing. Some magazine articles, some little essays, even a short fiction piece. I particularly liked the travel pieces, again, although the one with his wife made me sad because of their eventual divorce. So, anyone know if he and his new model girlfriend had their baby yet?

Book #6, The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss constantly recommends this book to me, so I was very pleased when Nicole gave it to me for Christmas. I read it in just a few hours, and was totally absorbed. It's the story of an old man who escaped Poland during the Holocaust, and lives alone in New York with no family. It's also the story of a young girl who was named after a character in a book her parents read when they were falling in love, and the author of that book. It reads like a flower opening, and I know that is cheesy, but that's the way it feels. Every chapter opens up a little more of the story. If I say too much more, this will really devolve into some major Book Club babble; "theme" this and "motif" that. Anyway, it's a smart, funny and engaging read.