Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mini Movie Reviews: Bulk Hit No 12

Julie & Julia (this one's not so "mini", sorry)
I went to see this with a group of wonderful women late Monday night (after FHE). What an irresistable cast list!

I found the portrayal of Julia Child delicious, but not as delicious as watching actual footage of the lady herself - this appearance on Letterman has to be the best I've found on the interwebs thus far. Meryl Streep is grand, as always, but moreover, the woman she is playing was fascinating, and as a result I relished every scene with her at its centre. I think I could watch the scenes with her sister over and over, and the onion tower is highly entertaining.

Sadly, I found Julie Powell's character in the film utterly unlikeable - surprising - since I'm fond of Amy Adams; and Julie Powell, the woman, seems to have so much going on that should appeal to me. Firstly, she is a blogosphere pioneer, now published author, living the dream! I thought this would be grease to my ambition engine, but sadly, it wasn't. It seemed to me that the on-screen Powell was blogging for all the reasons I can't relate to - boredom; lack of other hobbies; and resentment for her life - and she got a book deal for it. I am not attempting to attack the woman upon whom the character is based, but I am disappointed with the film story's arc. To me the film is about a sulky lady who has all her dreams come true. I do love when she makes a ruined-dinner-angel on her apartment kitchen floor - I can relate to the occasional meltdown - but I detected a disproportionate amount of grief to enjoyment. (Another plus: I am also still marvelling at the evolving nature of film - and the implications for a blog becoming a film. How fascinating that the audience for a large portion of this work read the story in its earliest stages? How interesting that we can still visit the original pages online, as they sit there, dated 2002? Normally an author's conception and creation of a work is so private, but this, well, it really subverts so many conventions!) Secondly, maybe it was the mood I was in, but I found myself feeling sorry for her husband. I shouldn't, right? He's getting all of this wonderful food served up, he's lucky! Yet I couldn't help but find his character no more than an empty fixture, in place merely for developing Adams' screen identity. This really bugged me. Julie Powell, in reality, has to be the kind of woman I'd love to yarn with - what she's accomplished is incredible, creative, and merit-worthy. Julie Powell, in the movie, is the kind of woman I want to slap and say, "Quit whinging, and ask your husband about his day!"

I would still say, "Go see it!" to anyone who asks, because it's engaging, and any homage to the quirky Julia Child is worth a gander. And like I say, it could've been my mood. For another opinion, one of the other ladies from our viewing session wrote a great review.
*I think it would have to be a very soft slap. Slapping is mean, hear me, Esky?

Well, it's pretty unfortunate yet befitting that this film's title rhymes with "lame". I attempted to defend it as Haki and I walked to the car after seeing it...but really, you can't. If you watch it on DVD it won't be all bad, but it wasn't worth seeing in-cinema. I give almost every musical a chance (example exception = Rent - gag), and found moments in this one I could enjoy, but they were fleeting. I agree with the many colloquial, on-the-spot reviews I've heard and overheard; "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

17 Again
A few notches above tolerable, I'd like to think this movie never set out to be a work of cinematic genius - it's light comedy - and that, it delivers. I was surprised to find Thomas Lennon provided much of the humour. Actually, that's a lie - the writers' and prop-team's geek tributes (with Lennon as vehicle) provided much of the humour.

Angels and Demons
I really settled into Hanks being Langdon in this one. I didn't read the book this time - because I didn't enjoy its sequel as much as the film adaptation. (Confusing, I know, The DaVinci Code is the book's sequel, the film's prequel.) I found some of this film horrifying. I also found myself pretty much enthralled. I think it's a thriller worth seeing, but wouldn't class it among my favourites.

Confessions of a Shopaholic
A little like 17 Again, this pic delivers all it's really capable of delivering - light entertainment. Perhaps a little cheerier than the average middle-grade comedy, if my recommendation was a weather forecast, I'd say, "It won't be sunny, but fine".

Seven Pounds
Wow, this film is mushrooms! Or maybe olives. Whatever it is, it seems to have divided its audience 50-50 when it comes to taste. I had one person tell me, "Don't see it. It's the worst film ever," while another said, "I really liked it". My verdict? Camp 2, on the outskirts. I completely disagree with some of the choices the protagonist makes, but I don't have to agree with them to like a film. If no one has ruined it for you (if you've heard/read spoilers, it's probably not worth seeing), then I suggest you see it and decide for yourself; give it the 20-minute test. (It should only be a dollar for you to see it by now, surely.)

Transporter 3
The other two are much, much better. This one's still a solid action flick...but the entire film your thoughts interrupt, "Bring back one! Or two! This isn't one or two!" If you don't like action for action's sake, give it a miss, but if you're a fan of the previous films, this isn't a lost cause - just don't hope for the same. The poster's pretty awesome, right?

Race to Witch Mountain
Not bad at all - I'd watch it again in a few years. Haki fell asleep. The young female lead (AnnaSophia Robb) is distractingly striking. Dwayne Johnson is reliably, what I like to call, "Disney-funny"....and I do like The Rock (not nearly as much as a friend of mine does, cough cough, Mandy of Hamilton).

I recommend skipping:
  • Ghosts of Girlfriends Past - We turned it off. Too rude for our liking. Such a shame, good leads!
  • Duplicity - Slow, slow, slow. I also thought I was going to have an aneurysm asking, "Where are they going with this? What is this about? What? WHAT!?!" Maybe I'm just stup'? Anyone see it and get it? ANYONE?
  • GI Joe - When Haki and I walked out of the theatre he said, "Sorry honey". Need I say more?
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