Juliette and I had been thinking off and on about seeing this movie ever since a random stranger recommended it to us when we were out at a Japanese restaurant. Over the next couple of months one of Juliette's friends mentioned that she liked it, and then last night Juliette noticed that Dooce also recommended it. So, even though it was late on a school night, we decided that we weren't satisfied to end our movie weekend with Death at a Funeral, and drove downtown to see Once. I'm so glad we did. The movie tells the story of a Dublin street musician and a Czech immigrant girl he meets, and of the music they end up creating together. The plot is relatively sparse and is more or less standard "boy meets girl" stuff; what really drives the film is the music. If, like me, you have a taste for indie/alternative acoustic singer-songwriter pop, you will love this movie. The first duet that the two leads sing actually brought tears to my eyes, partially because the song was pretty but more because of the emotion in the scene, awakening on their faces and bursting through their voices. The home-made feel imparted by the handheld camera and grainy film stock worked wonderfully, giving the whole thing a very intimate feel. The one word of caution I will give is that if you're not the kind of person to be grabbed by this kind of music then you may not love this film. For me, though, I think the highest praise I can give is that it made me want to sing.
Viewed: 9/22/2007 | Released: 5/15/2007 | Score: A
Death at a Funeral
Having not been out to a movie together in over a month, Juliette and I went and saw Death at a Funeral this weekend, mainly because it was the next movie playing when we decided to go out. We've had some good luck picking movies that way before--notably Waking Ned Devine back in college--but, unfortunately, this one wasn't that good. Not knowing what to expect, we both had high hopes for a witty British comedy after the opening scene, but things descended pretty rapidly into the sort of sitcom-style humor that revolves around people being put into awkward situations. If that kind of thing appeals to you then most likely you'll find this movie hilarious--certainly many of the other audience members were laughing uproariously. For us, though, it's just not our bag.
Viewed: 9/21/2007 | Released: 7/10/2007 | Score: C
Considering the sales and buzz that this movie has produced, you've likely either heard of this one already or you're not interested in movies. I definitely pick this one as my comedy of the summer and I expect it'll be at least a runner-up in this year's SMAs (and we all know how prestigious an award that is). I had been under the impression that the raunchy teen comedy genre had jumped the shark by now but then along comes a movie like this one. It's unlikely that Superbad will revitalize the genre, exactly, but it was still damn funny. What really worked for me wasn't so much the swearing and sex--although I'll admit that I have a fondness for crude humor--but the honesty, the amount to which I was (sometimes embarassingly) able to see my own young self in the characters. Juliette and I mused about how different it would be to see a movie like this as a teen instead of as an adult, because at this point when we laugh at a movie like this we're really laughing at ourselves. (By the way, in case it wasn't obvious from the R rating, this movie is not suitable for kids or young teens.) Anyway, I liked the movie all-around and in particular it looks like Seth Rogen's star may be rising. It should be interesting to see where he goes from here.
Viewed: 8/19/2007 | Released: 8/16/2007 | Score: A
It's been several years since I read Stardust but I recall thinking that it was a nice little fairy tale, although nothing particularly astonishing. I feel more or less the same way about the film. The story seems to have survived the transition from print to screen pretty well, and if it doesn't have quite the same magical feeling as it did on the page, well, it's hard to imagine how it could. Well, maybe not--Pan's Labyrinth certainly managed it. But Stardust is, on the whole, a much fluffier story than Pan's Labyrinth so the fluffiness of the movie is appropriate. The only thing I didn't particularly care for was Michelle Pfeiffer's performance, and I know I'm in the minority there. She certainly looked the part but I've just never been particularly impressed with her acting abilities. Everything else, though, was pretty good and I particularly liked the humor elements, which I thought made for a lighthearted and fun film.
Viewed: 8/9/2007 | Released: 8/9/2007 | Score: B-
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
By Philip K. Dick
It was interesting to see the differences between this story and it's movie adaptation, Blade Runner. If anything, the future painted in the novel is even more bleak and unfamiliar than the one in the film. That makes it, to me, both more difficult and more compelling. I'm not sure that I'll be rushing out to get my hands on Philip K. Dick's complete works--his style and vision are a little too harsh and discomfiting for me, but I'd still say that this one was well worth the read.
Started: 8/20/2007 | Finished: 8/30/2007