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Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Few Cinematic Surprises

I'm a pretty opinionated person. That's right I said it! My opinions are especially decided when it comes to films. I also like to read about films before I see them, which leads to the sometimes bad habit of forming an opinion before actually experiencing a film. Here is a tribute to several films which not only overcame my initial skepticism, but actually became some of my favorite films:

V for Vendetta
"Remember, Remember the Fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot..." When a coworker told me about this film, I honestly thought it sounded pretty dumb. A mask wearing terrorist going around London blowing up buildings and killing prominent people because of a personal vendetta against them? Seriously? Within the first few minutes of the movie I totally changed my mind. Watch the movie and then tell me that the knife wielding, Shakespeare quoting, Guy Fawkes mask wearing hero named V isn't cool! I dare you! The story is complex and intriguing with strong Orwellian themes; basically this is totally my kind of movie. V for Vendetta is one stand out flick with a lot of interesting social and political premonitions. The music and imagery in the film are amazing and beautiful and really sets the film apart from other comic book action movies. "...I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot."

Cloverfield
When this was in theaters It seemed to receive very mixed reviews. A lot of people complained about the handheld camera thing. Several months ago, after a few weeks of coaxing, a friend from work convinced me to watch it and loaned me his copy. It was a little slow getting started, but it sure took off! This is by far the best monster movie I have ever seen. It is a pretty short movie; it's runtime is only about an hour and a half, but it has better character development than a lot of three hour epics.

Dan in Real Life
Prior to seeing this film, my only exposure to Steve Carrell was through the first season of The Office (which I hated.) I remember seeing the movie poster hanging in the TSC, but I somehow missed every other ad for it. I still have no idea when it was actually in theaters. One night I was talking to my Mom and she told me that she and my Dad rented Dan in Real Life and really enjoyed it. They didn't tell me anything else about the film; but I decided to give it a chance and see if it was any good. From the opening scene of the film I could tell that this was going to be something special and thoughtful. I was right. I loved everything about the movie. After the movie ended, I immediately popped onto Amazon.com and ordered my own copy. I think I even watched my rented copy again the next day; I just couldn't wait for my own copy to arrive! After several more viewings, I decided that Dan in Real Life was the best "feel good" film I had seen in seven years! I often find that I relate to characters in movies, but in this case Dan fits me to a T. How he reacts to situations, the types of struggles he deals with, even the feelings he demonstrates all seem to describe me. This film totally changed my opinion of Steve Carrell, and made a significant impression on me. "Prepare to be surprised."

Stranger Than Fiction
I hate Will Ferrell with a passion! I think every film he has ever made is pure garbage and should never have seen the light of day. I interpret the popularity of his movies as evidence of the general stupidity of most movie goers. (Note: if you happen to enjoy Will Ferrell and his films, I mean no offense. I understand the appeal of 'dumb humor,' I just don't enjoy his style at all.) That being said, Stranger Than Fiction is totally different from anything else he has ever done and let me tell you...it is excellent! I was amazed to find out that Will Farrell can actually act, and when he does, he is really good. Please Will Ferrell, for the good of humanity please do more films like Stranger Than Fiction, and fewer films like Elf(shudder.)

Spanglish
This is another film wich had an effect similar to Stranger Than Fiction. Prior to viewing Spanglish, I didn't think much of Adam Sandler or his comedic style. I can't remember what made me want to watch Spanglish, but it was so refreshing to see Adam Sandler in a normal role for a change. Like Dan in Real Life, I ordered my own copy immediately after the first viewing, and proceeded to watch my rented copy again the very next day. I loved the story and the characters. The two children in the film are amazing, as are Sandler and Paz Vega. Spanglish is definitely the jewel of Sandler's career thus far.

1 comment:

Squall said...

I agree with you...for the most part... I didn't like Cloverfield simply because it left me wanting to actually watch a movie...so much that we had to watch another movie after it got over. It just left a blah test in my mouth, you know?