Saturday, January 12, 2008

End 2007/Begin 2008

Yes, it's the end of the year. That's the time when everyone wonders, "How many movies did Maya manage to see this year?" The disappointing answer is: Only 65! I couldn't even reach a measly 70 cinematic viewings in the grand year of 2007. Ah well, it's a new year, and time to aim for better things...




I AM LEGEND
Ha ha, I didn’t post about this movie! I just told Sandy about it in an email!
Anyway, I thought the tone and pacing of this movie were superb, as well as Will Smith’s acting. As scared as I am of zombies, the baddies in this film were just too video-gamey to be really threatening, although the few scenes where they’re hinted at rather than really shown are pretty palpitation-inducing. CGI is better left to the backgrounds (the images of a devastated NYC devoid of people were really startling and 100% convincing) – living creatures/monsters still end up looking fakey in some strange way. Yes, this movie also made me cry, but I’m a baby (you’ll know which part I cried at if you see it).



ATONEMENT
Yes, Keira Knightley is striking, but she is SO DAMN SKINNY. Get that girl a burger. I’m not kidding, I find her skeletal frame distracting. As if any girl in that time era was that thin, seriously? Unless she were dying of TB or some other romantic disease of the times…
I haven’t read the book, so I feel like I should probably do that. The movie worked spectacularly in moments (like the often-talked-about long take moving over a wartime beach). Are unbroken long takes the new way to grovel for a cinematography Oscar nomination? I still feel like the one from Children of Men was more amazing, but this one is really quite breathtaking, and probably the best part of the movie.
Anyway, the artistic and unexpected moments are kind of neutered by the overly romanticized Hollywood cliché moments. This movie is definitely worth watching, especially for some surprising parts later in the running time, but there are probably other movies more worth your time.
James McAvoy is pretty dreamy for a teensy, pasty Brit, I have to admit.



SWEENEY TODD
Another good mood piece from Tim Burton. I’m not a fan of musicals, and this is a particularly tuneless one. Part of the fun of this movie was trying to recall the tunes and lyrics later – Andrea and I did a pretty good job of it, I thought. Great performances by Johnny, Sascha, and Helena. And who knew Johnny could sing?
Incidentally, I was sufficiently inspired by Helena Bonham-Carter’s style in this movie to make one of my New Year’s Resolutions be “have bigger hair.” I don’t want to go the whole goth route, I think I’m too old (and sane) for that, but I was impressed by her piles of crazy hair and ribbons, and decided that it’s time to take advantage of the volume that naturally curly hair gives you to work with.




BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD
Oh wow, this movie was really dark. I guess I knew the subject matter was twisted, but I was still surprised by how nihilistic the whole thing was. Great structure, and the tension was palpable throughout the entire film. All this, in spite of the moronic elderly man behind us who kept leaning over to his girlfriend and whispering loudly, “You’re going to have to explain this to me later!”
Phillip Seymour Hoffman pulls out all the stops here – his puffy, red face looks like it’s about to pop at any given second. Ethan Hawke also gives an impressive performance as his pussified younger brother, who inconveniently has more of a moral center. Definitely on my list of recommended movies, but not a warm fuzzy fun one.



THE GOLDEN COMPASS
As much as I try to stay away from children’s movies, I have to admit this one was pretty entertaining. It felt like they were skimming and cramming certain parts (even though I haven’t read the book). I mean, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have a herd of witches swoop in to save the heroes, when the witches were previously unseen and only obliquely alluded to. Good performances, especially from the child leads, make this worth watching. I thought some of the violence was pretty cringe-inducing, so it wasn’t a total baby movie. It actually made me wish I had time to read children’s epic novels… oh well, someday…



JUNO
I thought this movie would be too precious for my taste, but it actually worked out quite nicely. It probably wouldn’t have worked if the actors hadn’t been so fantastic – obviously the lead is great, but her father/step-mother were also cast perfectly, of course Jason Bateman is great (finally playing someone with a bit of a creepy edge, instead of the goofy-funny guy he always plays), Jennifer Garner scores big by playing a desperate wannabe mother in an incredibly sympathetic manner, and Michael Cera almost tops them all as the hapless impregnator. Can I just say that I was never a fan of Michael Cera in Arrested Development, but if a bandwagon drove by my house with a banner on it that said “Michael Cera,” I would jump right on! The scene where he’s talking about prom with Juno in the hallway was heartbreaking, and he does it all with his eyes. I love him! What a sweetheart! I usually don’t like guys that are kind of pussified, but whatever, I’ll make an exception for him.

3 Comments:

Blogger slucas said...

Your new word for 2008 must be "pussified." Me like!

I thought you did post about I Am Legend? Somebody did... and I don't think it was me... wait, er, maybe it was (pssst, I cried at that part, too!)

8:27 PM  
Blogger ginsoakedgirl said...

Yeah, I proofread this latest entry and realized I used the made-up word "pussified" too frequently... It's a little nicer than calling a guy a a "pussy," but it describes his qualities/problems quite well... So why call him anything else?

1:11 AM  
Blogger Carrie Ann said...

I also cried at that part in I Am Legend. WAH!

Michael Cera is so adorable in that scene, "But then you were like, 'Let's just make out lalala." Aw.

1:32 PM  

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