The past few months I've started going to the movies quite frequently, after a long time of mostly boycotting -- 8+ bucks for a ticket is just ridiculous! Especially when so much of what was out there was just pure crap. But anyway, I've ended the boycott, and I've actually seen some really great stuff lately.
First, everyone must go see Juno immediately. Are you listening? Immediately! Definitely the best movie I've seen all year. Had me laughing pretty much straight through, which is rare. It seems like most comedies that make it to the theatre are fat-guy-falling-down humor, which just doesn't do it for me. This one was smart as hell, though, with just the right amount of seriousness. Every actor blew me away -- even Ms. dimples-the-size-of-the-Grand-Canyon, Jennifer Garner, who I normally find to be rather annoying Also, the music was spot-on. I've already gotten the soundtrack. In fact, I'm listening to it right now. I'd forgotten about Sonic Youth's amazing cover of the Carpenters' Superstar until it showed up in this movie!
Also saw Across the Universe over the Christmas holiday. It's a musical using all Beatles music. I thought that Jim Sturgess, who played the male lead, was fabulous. I really believed him when he was singing -- it felt like I was seeing inside his head, not like I was just listening to someone sing a song about their feelings. He hasn't been in much major stuff yet, but if the universe is just, he's going to make it big. Evan Rachel Wood, the female lead, was just . . . eh. She was better as an effed up teenager a few years ago in thirteen. And everytime I see her all I can think is that she's dating Marilyn Manson. Ewww. The thing I really liked about this movie was that it made songs that I've heard a million times sound completely new and fresh. I mean, when I first discovered the Beatles sometime in high school, I must have listened to Hey Jude on repeat dozens and dozens of times. But hearing it again in this movie was like hearing it for the first time -- I never really thought of it as a call-to-action. In the movie, though, it's totally the song which underlays the main character's decision to make this huge change in his life and go back after the woman he loves.
Then, I rented a couple flicks that I also really enjoyed: Hard Candy and Once. Hard Candy also stars Ellen Page, from Juno, and holy cow is she intense in the role. I usually don't sit still for movies at home -- I sort of half watch them while I futz around and clean and stuff. But once I started this movie, I was completely riveted. It's an indie film. The premise is that this 14 year old meets a 30 year old man on the internet and they meet. At first it seems like he's taking advantage of her, but then she turns the tables on him and I literally could NOT take my eyes off the screen.
Once was also really fabulous and unexpected. So sweet and romantic and unexpected. It was also a musical, sort of, but not at all in the usual way of the stars breaking into spontaneous song instead of speaking. Instead, the songs were much more integrated, since it was a love story of two musicians meeting. I haven't bought a video in ages, but I liked this one enough that I think I might go out and buy a copy. I could definitely see myself watching this one again and again. Also fabulous music -- Glen Hansard from The Frames is the lead in the movie, and the songs are all by him and the female lead, Marketa Iglova, a classical Czech pianist who has also done some performing with The Frames.
Also seen recently:
The Golden Compass. Nicole Kidman and the little girl who played Lyra were both really great. I liked it. My companion did not -- she'd read the book recently and it was quite different.
Blade Runner: The Directors Cut. Honestly, I just don't get this one. I went to see the re-release at the theatre because people talk about what a classic sci-fi flick this is. I mostly found it confusing and wow do the special effects look low-tech compared to what we're now used to.
Knocked Up. This one I rented, since I missed it in the theatre. It was fine. Funny enough, I guess. Didn't blow me away, though. A little too sappy perfect-ending. I found the whole premise difficult to believe -- WHY would Katherine Heigl's character decide to have the baby and then on top of that decide to have the schmuck-y father be a part of the whole thing? So not realistic in today's world.
Into the Wild. Liked this one more than I thought I would. I found the main character much more likeable in the film than he was in the book. Totally over-romanticized, though.
Atonement. Really enjoyed this book, and I liked the movie, too. Keira Knightly was typically strong and the male lead was even better. Can't remember his name at the moment. James McAvoy, I think. Just like with the book, I wasn't big on the ending. The visuals were lovely, though. (EDT: I just looked James McAvoy up on IMDB and it is him. And I figured out why I felt like I recognized him -- he was Mr. Tumnus in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe)