Thursday, October 29, 2009

culture round up part 1

i've got a LOT of catching up to do - going all the way back to august!

the night of the performance, we rounded everyone up to go to the drive-in...we saw "funny people" - which was TERRIBLE. the best thing this film did for us was to give aziz ansari the opportunity to do the raaaaaaaandy shorts that turned up on funny or die.

i get what judd apatow was going for - he wanted to show the costs of being funny/being a professional comedian. it's like the insidious side of "inside the actor's studio" that you're always hankering for but that beard-o is too busy being all, "so tell me about that time you were awesome" to give. it was a self-reflective look at the misanthropic, self absorption of the mensch comedian. too bad it went too far and presented us with someone who was so convincing, you as the audience didn't care. it was off-putting. adam sandler wasn't endearing at all and way too believable as the neurotic schmuck. the movie is populated with unlikeables and what "funny" moments there were unfortunately just didn't cut the mustard. it was dreary and about 10 billion hours too long. FAIL! the only good part is seeing judd apatow's daughter maude, absolutely DESTROY "memory" from the musical "cats" in full cats garb. it was smashing.

we saw a lot of movies in hawaii because everyone in hawaii either a) goes to bed super-early or b) hated us and were off having post-9pm fun in a secrete locale unbeknownst to lagerfeld and the dotytron.

"inglourious basterds" was pure entertainment - great tarantino fun, without as much of the tarantino talky flourishes and trying-to-be-cool that can be a little off-putting. the performances are fantastic - christopher waltz's mannerisms and enunciation as the courtly nazi colonel were note-perfect as was the luminous performance of french actress mélanie laurent as jew-in-hiding shosanna. i liked that a lot of the violence happens off-camera - it didn't trade on gore - and there were so many deliciously tense moments. the movie time flew by and it's a film i would definitely recommend. not something that's particularly thought-provoking, but a well-crafted pastiche of movie tropes and fantasy.

i read an interview with tarantino where he talks about his impetus for making the film, that he thought surely, not all the jews meekly marched aboard the cattle car - that there must have been some violent resistance that the annals of film refuse to acknowledge because it doesn't fit into the conventional narrative we've constructed around the holocaust. i liked his point - especially as it helps to shake up the wwII film genre.

"district 9" i loved. loved loved loved. just a few shades below "children of men" in terms of dystopian, future-rooted thought experiments cloaked in film. talk about thought-provoking! we spent the entire night nattering away at each other about the movie. so subtle, so damning an indictment of apartheid! what a depiction of the ease with which "everymen" get swept by their own apathy, ignorance, and disciplinary cultural forces into colluding/constructing oppression of "the other." you hear that, "the reader"? this says everything, more elegantly and with greater nuance, that "the reader" in all its forced mannerisms and oscar-baiting wanted to say but failed miserably at conveying without the full force of a sledgehammer.

so graceful! so compact! one of the more exciting films i've seen in a long time. a perfect blend of action and ideas. subtle, cheeky...this was great.

"the time traveler's wife" was disappointing. it was okay (i mean, it made the dotytron cry) but it lacked a lot of the emotional punch of the book. it was pretty enough - but you weren't really invested in the central relationship to care - as a review i read said, the time traveling is really depicted more as an occasional inconvenience than anything else. this was very meh. i mean, it's the kind of meh, blandish, aimed-at-(imaginary)women duff that i would probably see anyway, on a lazy rainy saturday afternoon when i only have my own company to contend with. but this was a poorish example of that particular genre.

one night in a moment of weakness, after feasting on volcanoes all day, we rented "confessions of a shopaholic" from the local (only) convenience/pizza parlour/video store in the tiny village of volcano and staged a take over of the cable-bereft, under-used common room at our lodge. wouldn't you know that right when we're in the middle of what is perhaps the most potentially embarrassing rental choice to be seen with outside your own home, THAT'S when all the guests come clambering out of the woodwork to try to stake a claim on the common room, only to leave in haughty disgust at our viewing material??? this was really, really, REALLY bad. it doesn't even give you enough unintentionally funny moments to make fun of à la the infamous "jane austen bookclub" night with dr. rei. it's horrid.

okay, so that brings us up to speed. i'm done dragging up pop culture from 2 months (aka a lifetime) ago. on my list now is:

- "a serious man"
- "an education"
- "more than a game"
- "an education"
- "zombieland"

and a billion other things. but those are tops on my list, currently.

tonight we're playing dodgeball and then going to caplansky's (encore un fois!) with our buddy, L. i'm going to venture into the breakfast menu, methinks.

full review to come!

fin.

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