Sunday, August 23, 2009

Well Hello There!

So that was a nice, unplanned two-week vacation I had from the blog there. I didn't even realize I was taking it until a week into it, but I probably did need it. After all the structure of the trailer tournament and the So You Think You Can Dance posts, once those were both over (congrats, Children of Men and Jeanine Mason!), I guess I didn't know how to post about anything I didn't have on the schedule. That plus, you know, it's TOO FUCKING HOT to do anything but sit in front of the fan and pray for the cool embrace of death by hypothermia.

Anyway, hello! I'm back! Posting on the fly! It's still too fucking hot to write, but I soldier on.

So in the interests of wading back into the shallow end of the pool (POOL! Dear sweet Jesus how many people would I be willing to kill in exchange for access to a pool), I've got some capsule reviews. Not for everything I've seen -- I'm not sure what I could add to the discussion about Donkey Punch -- but certainly there fave been some strongly recommendable movies since last I wrote.

District 9
I'm not sure if this is a movie that has as much to SAY as some reviewers have been touting. Not that it dampened my enthusiasm for the movie one bit. This isn't a dumb movie by any stretch, but the genocidal/apartheid/immigration parallels are fairly obvious and shallow. But obvious and shallow are a hell of a lot better than completely nonexistant as they have been for this summer's other action blockbusters. That's what District 9 is, by the way -- an action blockbuster. The best action blockbuster of the year. Tightly paced, unpredictable, with an amazing blowoff of a final half-hour. "Best Picture" talk is a bit lofty, but I have zero issues with the movie that exists on the screen.

Julie & Julia
The Meryl Streep parts are as amazing as you've heard; she manages to make an incredibly detailed portrayal seem 100% effortless and off-the-cuff. This is why you get Meryl Streep for a movie like this. What I was even more amazed by was how well Nora Ephron did as a writer and director. Put me in the minority who greatly enjoyed the "Julie" half of the movie. Maybe that speaks more to what I do and where I live, but the story of a writer who just wants a place to write and something to accomplish spoke to me. Amy Adams is great, and once again I walk out of a movie thinking about how much I love Chris Messina. And I now have such an insane craving for beef bourguignon I can't even think straight.

Inglorious Basterds
It's really something else to be sitting in a darkened theater and realize that you're in the hands of a director who has the utmost confidence in what he's doing. Who will just go there and throw whatever crazyfucking thing that's on his mind up on the screen and trust his audience stick with him even when any sane moviegoer would check right out. Only Quentin Tarantino's crazy ass could make a WWII movie like this, one that hinges on a movie house, deeply personal revenge plots, and more Mexican standoffs than you can shake a Nazi-bashing baseball bat with. Speaking of which, props to QT for once again taking crap-ass actors like Diane Kruger and Eli Roth and either eliciting great performances out of them (Kruger) or else utilizing them for their preposterousness on appearance and largely keeping them quiet in a corner (Roth). The real scorchers in the cast are Christop Waltz, who you've heard about, and Melanie Laurent, who you should be hearing much, much more about.

In the Loop
Fantastically funny, foul-mouthed, smarter than it seems at first, and keeping way more balls in the air at any given time than you can count. I don't think I'll be able to properly sing its praises until I see it two or three more times, and I certainly intend to do that. But here's my big question in the meantime: Why aren't more people talking/writing/shouting about how cool it is that Anna "My Girl" Chlumsky is back in movies and being totally charming and funny and relaxed and worthy of more charming, funny roles in the very near future? This is the child-actor success story of the century!


jessica said...

Welcome back! I was just this morning hoping that nothing untoward had happened to you.

I also enjoyed the Julie parts of Julie & Julia and agree with you on pretty much everything there.

Ditto your thoughts on Tarantino, who is at his whimsical (yes, for all his violence QT's stories are fully of whimsy) best with Inglorious Basterds. And as charming as Brad Pitt is -- I was pleasantly surprised by how well he fit into the Tarantino style -- Waltz and Laurent are the true stars. Simply fantastic.

I've not seen District 9 yet, but I did get to The Time Traveler's Wife yesterday, which is a beautiful and capable adaptation of a marvelous book. Put it on your list and escape the heat.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back, you have been missed