Wednesday, October 13, 2010
So I just saw The Social Network and I would have to say that all of the reviews are right. It is really good, and to be honest, I didn't know how to feel going into it. I was sure it was going to be a pretty interesting story (I mean, the guys is the worlds youngest billionaire), but I also felt like it was a little too soon. It was sort of like when VH1 had I Love the 90's in 2004. Too soon? Yeah I sort of felt like it it then, and it kind of felt that way again in this movie. As soon as it ended, I was sitting through the credits (I always do) and I asked my friends, "So when is the sequel coming out?" It is kind of like when a band releases a greatest hits only to release another album or 10 in the following years. The guy is only 26 years old, there is the potential to have a bunch more interesting things happen to him. I am only a couple years younger, but I certainly wouldn't want my biopic to come out yet. Granted, I haven't done anything to warrant a biopic and maybe he didn't want the movie to be made now either. Based on this article it seems as though he didn't. What is fantastic about the timing however is that it resonates so much with people of my age group. Facebook was still pretty new when I came to college. In fact, my freshman year of college was Facebook's first full year of operation. Back then it was called The Facebook and it was only your school. The whole time I was watching I couldn't shake the feeling that the movie was in some way about me, us collectively who had/continue to use Facebook so avidly. I mean a major idea, or even character, in the film is the growing masses who use and then become addicted to Facebook, much like crack...
The acting was surprisingly great. Jesse Eisenberg was phenomenal. He really played Zuckerberg as a deep character simultaneously hiding and being ruled by his at times childish emotions. He is both a petulant child and wunderkind (I have always wanted to use that word). I felt especially dumb when he was explaining how easy it was to hack into Harvard's system and write a program. It was kind of like Nick Burns. The only other movie I have seen him in was Zombieland, which was totally awesome. He actually showed some real versatility from his character in Zombieland. I sort of figured he was just another Michael Cera, but after The Social Network I don't think anyone would think that again. Andrew Garfield, who played Eduardo Saverin, also put up a memorable multidimensional performance. It was also really cool that they had Armie Hammer play the Winklevoss twins. I had a tiny inkling one of the first times they/he appeared on the screen that it was one guy, after all, what are the odds that they would find blond Adonis identical twins? After a few moments though, I thought it was indeed possible so kudos to the CG team for really coming through there. Also kudos to Hammer who did each scene twice and he played the Winklvoss's as two distinct characters and not a stock set of identical twins who finish each other's sentences...although I think they did do that once.
There are a few other odds and ends that I want to talk about before I head into my big grand finale of a conclusion. First was the music. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (whom I had never heard of before but has a pretty sweet name) made an awesome score. It was both compelling and haunting when it needed to be. It is also worth mentioning that I am interested in seeing if this film in anyway effects Facebook usage. Is it just sort of like a two hour add for Facebook, or will people be turned off by Zuckerberg's actions and not want to use the site as much. It should also be noted that this is indeed a film, so its always hard to tell how much is true and what is there to put asses in seats. One of the movie's producers even went so far as to say, "there is no such thing as the truth." I think that is kind of an idiotic thing to say. There was a truth, it might not be what sells the movie, and it might not even be what I would want to see but I would argue that it is there so take that for what it is worth.
Now, it didn't strike me until a few days later, but The Social Network kind of fits in with the likes of There Will Be Blood and Citizen Kane. Now The Social Network is really good, but I don't think it is quite as good as either of those movies...that would maybe be blasphemy. It does have a lot in common though. A man in his younger years goes into business for himself and makes boatloads of money. Check. This same young man ends up tanking the only real human relationship that he has, essentially setting him adrift in his own man-made ocean of greenbacks. Check. Due to his own self destruction, the now wildly filthy rich old man becomes a hermit in his own mansion. Well, it hasn't happened yet, but as I said, "When is the sequel coming out?"
Thanks for reading, and keep watching.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Sorry to everyone who follows this blog closely and hotly anticipates every post, languishing when it takes me a while to get around to writing another. I know it had to be pretty rough on both of you because I have been slacking. I started a new job a couple weeks ago (What? writing this blog doesn't pay your bills?) and I have been adjusting to a new work schedule, etc. Anyway, lets get right down to it.
Last weekend I saw The Expendables, and before I say anything else, I first need to acknowledge that it was a VUI. That's right, a Viewing while Under the Influence. I must admit that I imbibed before...and during the film (my girlfriend has a big purse). If anyone reading this held me to higher standards (sorry Ma) in terms of going into every film with a clear head or just in terms of not drinking in unsanctioned drinking areas then apologize. Its definitely not a very sincere apology because I don't really regret it, but if it makes you feel at all better then that's good I suppose. After all, beer is great and so are movies. The combination has the potential to be nothing short of transcendent (thank you thesaurus.com). This is not to say that I do this frequently. I would say its an occurrence that happens once in a blue moon, and I just looked up how often that is, and trust me, its way less frequently than that. What is interesting about the experience is that I had planned for weeks to get together with particular friends, drink enough beer to have a strong buzz, and then go see The Expendables. What is it about this movie that made me want to see it while under the influence? Probably it was the fact that I knew that it was going to be a senseless money maker with a cadre of stars, and the only way that I was willing to give Sly and company the still as yet unripened fruits of my new labor was to do so in a drunken stupor. The fact of the matter is that some part of me still wanted to see it, and I guess I knew that drinking wouldn't impair my understanding of one-liners and explosions.
My thoughts on the actual film were mixed. The editing was pretty bad at times...and I really shouldn't even be able to notice that. It did have some excellent action sequences, and some big bangs, which always excites the dumbest part of our brains. It just could have been more, at least you would think so. All of these actions stars have winners under their belts, but this was a split decision at best. What I really feel like doing is just commenting on some of the actors and how they are in the movie, and because this is my blog, that's exactly what I am going to do. There are going to be A BUNCH OF SPOILERS IF YOU KEEP READING!!!! BE WARNED!!!!
Dolph Ludngren: This guys still doesn't speak english?! Rocky 4 came out years ago! All of his lines were awesome in that movie and short...which is clearly the way his lines need to be kept. Anyway, he kind of sucked in this movie. He was a lot like this giant emotionless automaton. He totally should have been dead and when we returned at the end it was totally stupid, but I suppose that is not his fault becuase he didn't write the movie...I'm looking at you Sly. He surely couldn't have with his seemingly basic knowledge of the english language. He did blow a guy in half with a grenade launcher though, and then laughed about it which I guess is pretty sweet.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
I did a little research into the film (translation: I looked it up on Wikipedia...get used to it) and the idea for the film started with Charlyne Yi wanting to make a documentary about her disbelief in love. The film's director, Nicholas Jasenovec, then thought it was a good idea, but would be even better if there was a fictional story within the film. That fictional story is a love story between Yi and Michael Cera. So lets review really quickly. Charlyne Yi has trouble with the concept of love, so she does interviews with people all over the U.S. about love. Then Yi, as an actress, starts a relationship with Cera,who is playing himself. Thinking about this at length causes there to be a little bump on the top of my head. That bump grows and grows until the top finally erupts in a magnificent volcanic display of confusion, while trails of wanting-to-understand boil over the sides. Ok, that is a bit dramatic, but the point is that Yi is an interviewer for the documentary who doesn't believe in love. Simultaneously she is playing a character (who happens to be herself) who doesn't believe in love but is in a relationship. The trouble for me stems from where one ends and the other begins. This is compounded by the fact that Cera is acting and playing himself, while there are a host of other actors, Seth Rogan and Dimitri Martin especially, who seem to be giving honest interviews instead of acting. There is one scene in LA at a party where both interviews are conducted and the characters Yi and Cera first meet. While watching the film, these two almost conflicting aspects flow together seamlessly, but in review it is a much more complex piece of work. Kudos to Nick Jasenovec for piecing the two together so well. Oh, and I forgot to mention, Nick the director appears on screen and is also a character in the film...played by Jake Johnson...which I didn't know until I watched the credits...phew!
The film also has a lot of feeling, or as my Grandma would say,"Schmaltz". This came not so much from the awkward "acting" that is so synonymous with "indie" films (I will probably have a rant about "indie" films soon enough) but from the genuine stories people told about love. The divorcee in Nashville who said that a vision of his ex-wife saved him from a frigid watery death. The biologist in Lubbock that said that there is some magic to love that goes beyond biological chemistry. The Oklahoma City couple that was married in high school and told the lovely story about the birth of their 2nd child. The gay couple in New York, who my some what liberal sensibilities had me hoping for. All of these peoples' true stories were heartwarming. They made me feel like I should have watched this movie with my girlfriend because she probably would have thought it was romantic of me to think of it...or maybe she would have just thought that all the guys in the movie were decidedly more romantic than me.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Last week I saw Inception, Christopher Nolan’s “I-want-to-make –something-between-Batman-movies” movie. It ended up being a lot more than just a filler project for Nolan (I suppose I should have guessed this considering it starred Leonardo DiCaprio, whose film choices have been impeccable of late) and might possibly be the most original heist film I have ever seen. Granted it was a little bit convoluted at the end and probably warrants another watching (which wouldn’t be a problem as the quality of the film also warrants said viewing) but all told it was really enjoyable; well written, acted, shot, etc. And while Inception was great and had a lasting impression on me, there was something else that I experienced at the theater that is causing me to put ink to paper, or fingers to keys to “Print” button to ink to paper as the case may be. That something was my experience with the previews.
Let me preface the rest of this treatise by saying that I genuinely enjoy watching the previews before my chosen film. I always leave for the theater with plenty of time to view the trailers, and if I enter the theater mid trailer I am a little bit bummed. I actually go to Apple’s website pretty consistently to watch the movie trailers that they have on the site, and I don’t even own a Mac. I have this semi-irrational fear that Apple know that I am checking their site without using a Mac and they are going to hit the secret remote kill switch in my ipod, but that is neither here nor there.
So I am sitting in the theater, awaiting my little pre-movie treat, and then the advertisements start, which is something all of us are used to but we can all remember a time when they were not part of the movie going experience. I sort of just talk through them with my friends and then my moment comes, the previews start and the thing I have been waiting for that comes before the movie I have been waiting for begins. The screen turns that familiar shade of green, telling me in white lettering that this preview is suitable for all ages. The first preview begins. George Clooney is working in some sort of warehouse or tool shed or something. He has a gun. He is putting together said gun. There is a priest. He and Clooney are talking. He seems to be trying to bring Clooney, who appears to be some sort of assassin, back to God. The preview ends with the title: The American. I audibly sigh and say in a muted but incredulous voice, “What?! It’s called The American?!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ywmoXZwkA0 There is something intrinsically dramatic about calling a movie The _______ (fill in the blank), so to be taken seriously the movie better deliver. Perhaps more importantly, the trailer better deliver because if you are going to über dramatically say the title at the end of the preview and the trailer wasn’t excellent, it’s going to seem like a joke, which it did. As far as I could tell, there wasn’t anything about the movie that was American or patriotic, which the title would no doubt lead you to believe. I am assuming that Clooney is an American in a foreign country, but come on, that’s pretty weak. I looked it up, and the film is based off of a book entitled A Very Private Gentleman. That’s a way better title! Why couldn’t you just call that movie that?!
Whatever, that preview is over now. My friends have a little chuckle at my genuine disgust. The next trailer starts. It’s a bank robbery, cool. A woman is taken hostage and let go. She seems to have PTSD. She starts a relationship with Ben Affleck and they are in Boston (predictable). Turns out Affleck is one of the bank robbers that kidnapped her, but she doesn’t know because he was wearing a mask. This is weak, but the amount of shooting and stuff blowing up in the preview keeps my attention. There is a quote about there being “over 300 bank robberies in Boston every year” which seems pretty high but whatever, and that “Most of these professionals live in a square mile neighborhood called Charlestown.” There is some more shooting set to a dramatic score and then, BAM, the title: The Town. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQ7wcayQQLQ This time I say nothing and just throw my arms up. My friends bust out in laughter. Are they serious?! The Town?! I mean, this preview seemed pretty interesting, aside of the ridiculously improbable love story, and then they had to go and give it the stupidly vague title The Town. Granted I was already soured by the title of the last trailer that was so dramatic I have to go out and see it, but it seems to me that they called have just called the movie “Charlestown” and it could be taken a little more seriously. “The Town” is so vague, and the movie doesn’t even seem to be about a town! At least M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village was about a village! Here again, I looked up, The Town is based on a novel entitled Prince of Thieves…sigh.
Thanks for reading and keep watching.