Friday, December 28, 2007

"C is for Cookie" -Cookie Monster

I am sitting on my ass before work and so far my nourishment for the day has been a steady consumption of oatmeal cookies.  I am a sick diseased individual.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

"We'll take a world, and set it on its ear." -Hey A Movie! (The Muppets)

Well the past week has been a bit of a movie blitz, some highs, some lows and a long overdue post.

First off. If you haven't seen Enchanted run, don't walk, to your nearest theater. This is the most full-price worthy movie I have seen in a long time. It is charming, witty, endearing, lovely and magical. It is a Disney Movie, so it is hokey. But know that going in and you will be okay. The first ten minutes is your standard Disney animated fare but it turns abruptly when the wicked step-mother sends the heroine into a world with no happiness: namely New York City.

The hero, or one of them at least is a divorce lawyer (who is himself a divorcee). I don't want to give too much of the movie away here because part of what really made it wonderful for me was walking in and expecting a piece of shit and walking out believing again in the power of True Love's Kiss.

Some of the standout roles were played by James Marsden as the goofy cartoon prince coming to rescue his soon to be princess. Amy Adams plays Giselle to perfection as a bewildered, yet somehow awe inspiring, young girl looking for true love. Susan Sarandon is under utilized as the wicked stepmother but every scene she is in is spectacular.

The last great performance was Patrick Dempsey who has come a long from Can't Buy Me Love and Loverboy. He has one scene that sums up his role in the story perfectly. There is a big number in Central Park and quite literally the entire park is singing and dancing and he is walking through the middle of it unaffected; but then at the end he is bopping his head, just a little bit and then he stops. It was perfect.

One thing that disturbed me about the movie, however, was Disney's inability to seem to distinguish between and innocent gesture and a profoundly intimate gesture. There is one spot where Robert and Giselle have a moment that to a twelve year old would seem inconsequential. But to someone who is in his thirties it has had my head spinning.

I don't mind spoiling this one a little bit but I will warn you know if you don't want to know too much about the movie then skip down to the next section.

Last chance.

Okay so at one point in the movie it is morning and Giselle has made breakfast and Robert is standing there in a robe. He has either just gotten out of the shower, or has just woken up. He doesn't have a shirt on under the robe and his chest hair is sticking out of the robe. It seems silly typing it out but some conversation happens and Giselle ends up stroking the chest hair and you can see the look in Dempsey's eyes. I don't know if this was a planned scene or if it was just the product of two actors playing with the scene but it was brilliantly done. But the aftermath is a little alarming. You effectively have a child in a woman's body, who still believes that True Love's Kiss is the most powerful magic world. There is a destruction of the innocence that is really bothering me, still even a week later.

You should definitely see Enchanted. Even if you have to go under a veil of subterfuge and skullduggery. I went to a Saturday matinee and the look of the ticket guy when I bought one ticket for the show was worth the price of admission alone. It is the holiday's and you need to be lifted up and reminded about the wonder of love and passion or just step out of yourself for an afternoon then go and see the movie, it is beyond wonderful.

No Country For Old Men
Great movie, well shot, but a Cormac McCarthy story at its base which means it can be largely inaccessible and gritty and obtuse. I would recommend it for a matinee but not full price unless you were a big fan of either Coen Brothers' movies or Cormac McCarthy.

As usual the Coen Brothers' get the most out of their actors and it is always aweseome to see Tommy Lee Jones in a movie. Javier Bardem, as Anton Chigurh, was creepy and wonderful and it makes me want to go back and see more of his work. Kelly MacDonald, who is my favorite "that girl" actress, had a small part that capped the movie off very well. It was a Coen Brothers' Film. I don't know what else to say about it.

Golden Compass

Ugh! This is a tough one. Because like The Seeker: The Dark is Rising it is hard for me to separate the book from the movie. Nicky had said at the end of the movie, "If you don't think the audience is smart enough to understand the plot, then why make the movie?" And that sort of sums up my opinion as the movie based on the book.

They made some really baffling choices, rearranging the order of the story so that things happen out of order and inexplicably vis a vis the rest of the story. They took out a character and added an unnecessary scene, and they had to rush some exposition that took away the slow build up to the climax of the first book (Which stopped short in the movie).

If I popped the book and the movie into the intercision chamber and separate them from each other I can bee a little more objective.

I thought that all things being equal it was a well-paced, entertaining movie. The special effects used to provide humanity to the daemons and the Panserbjorne are wonderfully done and the artistic director did a great job of providing a life and a vision for Pullman's world that was awe inspiring and different and exciting: familiar but different. Nicole Kidman plays the role of Coulter exactly the way I had seen it played in my head when I read the book. Ian McKellan and Ian McShane as the voice of the Ice Bears Iorek and Iofur, respectively, provide a gruff personality that really sums up what I imagined a Panserbjorne to be. Sam Elliot is always wonderful and he gets to play himself more or less.

The acting of the children is spotty, the boys who play Billy Costa and Roger are middling at best. But Dakota Blue Richards who plays Lyra will probably get a lot of work in the future. She was very good and seemed to a portray a depth in the character that I hadn't noticed when I read the story.

Like I said, this is a tough one for me. Great book, okay movie. If the movie were seen first I might be able to be a bit more forgiving about it. This is a matinee or bargain Tuesday movie.