July 20, 2009

Watchathon - July 10th to July 16th

It's time for the second week of the Watchathon, and I think I picked a rather wide selection again, from animated, big eared mice to that gay cowboy movie.

Rating: For women it hits a bit close to home.

I actually really liked this movie, even though bits of it seemed gratuitous and unnecessary, like perhaps all of Drew Barrymore's scenes. I loved her character, but her storyline was shown so sparingly that you forget she existed until her face pops up on your screen. This was perhaps the biggest problem with the movie as the large number of characters vied for screen time, and it is clear who the victors were.

Each pair of characters represents a core issue when it comes to heterosexual relationships. There was a small representation of gay relationships (and stereotypical gay men), but the overall theme of the movie is the stereotype of women agonizing over Will He Call and the men who passively dump women by never calling, so I accept that perhaps a more substantial gay plot wouldn't have fit very well. That said, I adored that when the gay characters did share the screen, they were the ones giving out truthful and accurate advice on relationships.

And when I say the movie hits a bit close to home, I really mean that. The film is certainly a comedy, however, the subject matter is the truth of what happens in hetero relationships wrapped up in a convenient box. When a guy doesn't call us back, we do agonize over it. We stare at our cell phones, religiously check all forms of messaging, ask our girl friends why he might not be calling, make excuses to ignore the truth that he simply isn't in to us, and we build the guy up so much in our heads that his fall from our heart breaks it. That sounds extremely melodramatic and ridiculous, and I've read a review from at least one man who thinks most of the drama in the movie is fabricated.

Well, it isn't. The only thing that's fabricated is how closely intersected all the characters are despite having solitary story lines. So girls, grab your female friends, and guys, take notes, as He's Just Not That Into You pokes at our crazy mating rituals.

Rating: If you haven't, you should.

It's true that calling Brokeback Mountain "The Gay Cowboy Movie" understates the true story of the movie. Yes, it's about two male cowboys falling in love, but it's clearly about how social pressure can destroy lives and the sadness of how it can prohibit love. That said, I teared up more watching He's Just Not That Into You than this movie, and I find something rather disturbing with that.

I feel that the characters are dynamic and they all mix believably together. My favorite character interactions are between Jack and his wife, Jack and Ennis, and Ennis and his daughter Jr. But I felt rather detached while watching this movie, and I think a lot of it had to do with how much time the film covered. I didn't fall in love with Jack and Ennis at the beginning like I should have, and I think if I had their journey would have been much more poignant and their end much sadder for me.

That said, it seemed that the characters always cried at the appropriate times I would have. I certainly felt like a voyager, and their display of emotions emulating for me. While I think a movie should stir the viewer into an emotional response, at the same time I think it's worth noting that I felt like voyager, that I was watching their lives unfold and knew very clearly that I was watching a story, a story that wasn't mine that I couldn't relate to, that wanted to be told. So I don't think my lack of response is a bad thing, or at least that's what I'm trying to justify to myself, but I certainly think it's a movie that warrants viewing.

Rating: Did I mention I love Anne Hathaway?

I grew up watching Get Smart. I loved it, my parents hated it, but they suffered through it because Nick at Night was better than MTV at Night. That said, I think why I enjoyed the movie so much is because of my fond memories of the original TV show. There were a lot of throw backs that I missed, of course, since I was a child upon watching the original, and I probably would have enjoyed the movie even more if I had.

However, I believe there is enough for people relatively new to the idea of Get Smart to enjoy. The humor is straight forward enough, and given that the Bond series has just gone through a reboot, Get Smart came out at a great time.

Does that mean it is an excellent movie? Not even, but it's good, mindless entertainment.

Rating: I turned it off before it ended.

That's right, I turned off an animated movie before it ended. I love animated movies. I absolutely adore them. If I had to chose one passion in life, it would be animation. This is why I picked up Tale of Despereaux in the first place. It does have a few redeeming qualities, the story is interesting and some of the visuals are amazing (enough that I might like to pick up the children's book). For example, the fairy tale within the story has a very pop up picture book feel to it, the depth that was captured was gorgeous.

But the movie is slow and unexciting. The characters are bland. I can't fathom how a child could sit through this movie, especially since I witnessed child restlessness during Wall-E, a movie far more fast paced than this one. Normally I would stick out movies just to know how it ends, but I just didn't care. And that, friends, proves the lack of proper story telling.

Rating: I ate maybe half the cake.

Visually Marie Antoinette is beautiful. The costumes, the sets, and (my favorite part) the food looked luscious, bright, and artistic. I actually really enjoy period dramas, especially concerning royal courts. Marie Antoinette was decent, but I feel that certain parts of the plots and themes were downplayed in order to present Marie as a precursor to, as the movie synop put it, partying like a rock star.

In order to portray "rock star" Marie, the movie was given a very modern soundtrack, and it worked very well with the movie. I was impressed how well, actually, as it didn't detract from the movie being set 300 years in the past. I also liked that many points of Marie Antoinette's history was suggest rather than spelled out, however, like I said before, I believe this downplaying is the reason why the film isn't more than decent.

I'm not a fan of Kirsten Dunst, but the Marie she was meant to portray was done very well. The women who portrayed her inner circle also performed well as I can remember their characters quite clearly. Everyone else is very much pushed to the back when with the character of Marie, perhaps this was intentional, but I think I may just give Kirsten Dunst the benefit of the doubt for this one.

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