Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Films so far!

I'm continuing to watch movies, inching closer to my year-end goal. Here is my review of 3 recent movies I've seen. Enjoy!

Everything Is Illuminated
I thought this movie was just ok, however, it got better as it progressed. One thing I don't like about movies is when they take the first 5 minutes to show credits. This movie almost lost me there. But I finished and the most memorable character, actually, is the grandfather (of the Russian guide). Elijah Wood's character definitely reached his goal of finding more information about his own grandfather, but I think the most growth came from the Russian guide's grandfather. In a metaphor or simile or whatever, the first half of the movie is to my attention opposite of what the second half is to my attention (in other words, I very much liked the first half, but was bored with the first half). It left me feeling emotional, happy for the grandfather, sad in a way for him as well, and wondering what will happen next for the Russian guide and for Elijah Wood's character. If I recall correctly, there were a few curse words, and little to no violence. This movie is one I would watch again, although I may fast forward to the halfway point.

Let The Right One In
Reminds me of the way I felt when I watched M. Knight Shamalan's "The Village". Not much goes on, but there is a lot happening. You know what I mean? I am not one to jump at the chance to see a vampire movie, but thought I'd give this one a chance. It's a Swedish film, and I'd recommend leaving the Swedish language on, and using English subtitles. If you use the English voiceover's, it is corny. By hearing the original language, you are better able to understand the characters emotion and the overall feel of the dialogue, even while reading the English at the bottom of the screen. So about the movie itself, it was strange, interesting, tense at moments, funny at times, and very memorable. The final scene was pretty great. Usually movies I watch build up to a climax, then spend the final few scenes wrapping everything up after the main characters problems are solved. But this movie is different in that the climax, the problems and the solutions are all throughout the movie. But just make sure and watch all the way to the end, and you will see what I mean. It seemed as though the filming was pretty basic, in that there were no huge explosions or enormously expensive special effects. But it was still very good. Most of it was at night (go figure a vampire movie would happen at night!) and the shots themselves were beautiful, set in a snowy town, with subtle lighting and a clean crisp picture. One of my favorite things is when a movie shows not the action happening, but shows the results of the action as it is happening, you know what I mean? Well, watch especially the final scene and you'll understand what I mean. It leaves some up to the viewers imagination and I think that's a great way to shoot a film. Overall, this movie was memorable in an uncomfortable, yet intriguing and thought-provoking kind of way. Watch it and you too may see how human vampires really are.

The Sure Thing
John Cusack must have been the "teen lover boy" of choice in the 80's. Here he is again playing the role of a guy in love (or lust in this case). Personally, I liked "Say Anything" better than this film because it focused more on the details of the developing relationship. The Sure Thing was good, not great. And here's why: it was mediocre on drawing out the side of me that would normally cheer for the protagonist. I wasnt necessarily compelled to side with him, and I dont mean I would have sided with someone else instead, I just mean I didnt feel any connection with his character. My favorite character in this film, and I wish he showed up on screen earlier in the story was the female character's boyfriend. He was extremely nerdy, uptight, and square. So much so that for her to stay with him instead of John Cusack's character would have seemed unbelievable, literally. If you have seen "The Notebook," one thing that may have stood out with you is the comparison between the two men competing for the girl. I loved how the film presented both men as good, hard-working, honest, decent men, more like a real-life dilemma. I loved that about "The Notebook," and inversely, what I may be most concerned about with The Sure Thing. It was the easiest of decisions for her to choose John Cusack over the dweeb. So there was not much mystery as to what was going to happen between them. All in all, this was worth watching, at least to see more silly 80's trends and laugh at the fashion that was popular during this decade (although there are better movies for that kind of thing- ie. Girls Just Want To Have Fun... which also has truckloads of great one-liners).

Friday, May 1, 2009

Who Is This Creep?

A friend of mine and I used to joke about certain things that guys do and how women perceive it. For intance, a guy stares at a woman from across the room, making eye contact at times with this woman. My friend and I would say "Guy makes eye contact with a girl, and also stares at her shoes... stalker? Or just wants to find out what the newest pair of Nike's look like?" The scenarios we joked about always made me laugh. But there is a deeper question I find myself asking about those make-believe situations (most of which were stalking, you know that Dean!). Let's take these 2 people as our subjects, the starer guy and the staree girl. They are in a public place, perhaps at a party or something. She constantly notices him staring at her throughout the night. Here is where it gets interesting. When is this considered flattering and when is it creepy? I suppose most women will say, "If the guy stares too long, it's creepy." But I don't accept that answer because I don't believe it's true. I mean, girls, raise your hand if you would approach Matthew McConaughey and tell him to stop staring because he's creeping you out.

I don't know if what I'm suggesting is a double standard. Possibly. However, if Matthew McConaughey is staring at you, then there are probably many, many other guys that stare at you, too, or else you just have a booger on your face. So you may have learned what a flattering stare is and what a creepy stare is. But I'll present my point in a scientific fashion. Let's say the staring is X, and there are 2 test subjects: Y and Z. Y is Matthew McConaughey. Z is the Mr. Collins (from 2005 "Pride & Prejudice"). Test 1: Your at the store buying groceries and notice Y Xing at you. You are flattered. Test 2, same exact scenario: You go to the grocery store and notice Z Xing at you. So here are the equations...

X + Y = makes you blush.

X + Z = reach in your purse to locate pepper spray.

What makes Y so different from Z? I suggest, though most girls may deny this, that it matters a whole lot who is doing the staring whether staring is creepy or not. And that makes little sense to me. In my circle of friends I hear female friends of mine talk about how creeped out they get when a guy acts creepy. But it's so not about the staring! Right?? It's about how cute the guy is. And that's the double standard. If Z is creepy for staring, then Y has got to be creepy, too. How can the same exact action be creepy if Z does it, but not if Y does it? To turn the tables, if Megan Fox were staring at me in Test 1, and Average Jane were staring at me in Test 2, and after I begged for their phone numbers to go out with me, ....ok, so I'm not a good test subject.

To use another example, let's say Mr. Collins took the exact same course of action that Mr. Darcy did in "Pride & Prejudice". I think most girls would say, "Wow, he's creepy." But because Matthew Macfadyen (or Colin Firth) are considered attractive, Mr. Darcy's actions are not seen as creepy at all, they are cherished and longed for by any girl that reads the book or sees the movie. And Mr. Collins, had he done the same things, would have been seen as cute and fun, but not unforgettable like Mr. Darcy. So there seems to be this standard of what is creepy and what is not... unless the guy is cute.

I would love to hear feedback on this subject. Steer me in the right direction. Tell me I'm wrong. Tell me I'm right. Ask me what I think about Mr. Bingley. Or Elizabeth Bennet.

Thanks for reading!