Sunday, August 16, 2009

Brief film musings before Mad Men season #3 premieres tonight:

One of the best parts about living in my neighborhood is residing within 15 minutes (max) of six movie theaters. For a film lover like myself, I sometimes can't believe how lucky I am. So all I need is a minimum amount of energy to catch a flick and now that I am a wee bit ambulatory, I've seen three in the past two weeks.

A summation:

  • Among those who know me, there is a misconception that my film tastes skew solely toward the dark, which is untrue. It's just that so many ostensibly "uplifting" and "stand up and cheer!" scripts are such unfettered drek, that not only do I not feel uplifted or like standing up and cheering, I actually want to locate the studio exec who greenlit the project and hurl Molotov cocktails at his or her Escalade. However, I saw The Proposal because the reviews were fairly strong and Sandra Bullock is one of my favorite actresses. (Much like James Garner or Cary Grant, she makes it look easy, which, if you know anything about acting, is incredibly hard.) Also, and while this has no bearing on her work as an artist, she has always struck me as a class act who is both generous and aware of how fortunate she is. And you know what? The Proposal was not the most enlightening 100 minutes of my life, but Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, perhaps because of their real life friendship, have genuine chemistry and while even a single-cell organism could deduce they'd pair off in the end, I enjoyed watching them get there. Bonus points, too, that at no juncture does anyone allude to the fact Bullock is almost a decade older than Reynolds. I.e. it is a non-issue, just like it is for dudes on and offscreen. Also, holy hell, I wanted each and every piece of her gorgeously sophisticated wardrobe, particularly the ash gray wool crepe Alexander McQueen dress she dons for the party scene.
  • I saw Julie and Julia with six of the women in my family (it's been a topsy-turvy and often chaotic summer for everyone, so this was the first time all of us had been in the same room since Easter) and found both the feature and the afternoon delightful. Meryl Streep, of course, is perfection, Nora Ephron is at the top of her game, and Amy Adams, whose portion of the film is almost uniformly getting referred to as weaker, is getting a bum rap. She is wholly believable as a writer (admittedly, this might have something to do with why I found her storyline compelling) and she works at a Lower Manhattan rebuilding agency in 2002 for chrissakes, so of course her scenes aren't usually as ebullient as Streep's in Paris because, if one will recall, Lower Manhattan in 2002 was one of the most depressing places on earth. I've now seen Adams in Doubt, Sunshine Cleaners, and Julie and Julia and found her superb in all three.
  • The Hangover, while somewhat uneven, was a ridiculously fun antidote to the weakness I was experiencing that day. Bradley Cooper and his stubble should be cast in everything all the time, Ed Helms, as usual, is reflexively hilarious, and whenever Zach Galifianakis said anything, I was that person in the theater laughing so hard that other patrons turned to see who the hell the bozo was and if she was high or developmentally disabled. (For the record: neither.) Favorite lines of the summer so far: when Galifianakis gets jumped by the naked Asian man and tells him, "I'm on your side! I hate Godzilla, too!" and when Cooper, Helms, and Galifianakis are carrying the baby outside the hotel and the latter says, "There was Ted Danson, Magnum P.I., and that Jewish actor." Absolutely no one but me laughed at this one and as such, I feel the rest of the audience owes comedy a heartfelt apology and a promise never to be so thoughtless and stupid again.
Okay, almost time for Jon Hamm and the consistently outstanding show built around his singularly chiseled visage and Superman blue black hair.

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