Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It's Hot, Go See a Movie

I decided to spend this past Sunday watching movie trailers and trying to figure out what I'm willing to pay to see in an actual movie theater.  I've only seen two movies in the theater in the last six months, though I imagine I would have seen more if it wasn't so damn expensive.  I highly recommend the two I saw, which are both doing well in theaters and which, really, you've probably already seen:

The Hunger Games:  Still in theaters, won't be on DVD until mid-August and well worth the money, in my opinion (even to see it twice).  Based on a truly fantastic YA series by Suzanne Collins (which you should read, whether or not you go see this), the screenplay may not follow every aspect of the first book, but it has an excellent cast and the storyline is recognizable to say the least (which you don't always get with movies based on books).  Woody Harrelson, in particular, fully becomes his character (Haymitch) and, considering that I've been watching him since Cheers, it impressed me to momentarily forget the actor and just see the character.  I think Jennifer Lawrence is brilliant (and after seeing her in Winter's Bone, I immediately understood why she was cast as Katniss), but I do agree with this NY Times review that the character of Katniss has a much stronger will and a duller sense of femininity in the books - which is something I liked about her and that made sense, given her history and circumstances.  Still, it is a good movie and I will go see the next one, as well.

Marvel's The Avengers:  There was never a chance that I was not going to go see this, but even I could not have foreseen just how good it was going to be.  I've been a Joss Whedon fan for a long time and I'm a geek, so I've seen almost all the Marvel films that came before this, but I was not prepared to be as impressed as I was.  This is one of those movies that brings the whole audience together - everyone is not sure what to expect at first, but there is a coming together...over the awesomeness...that happens.  Having not been super excited about Thor, I was a little nervous at his world (from the comic books) being such a large part of the film, but it works.  Yes, the big action scenes are all...ya know...big 'n action-y, but Whedon's talent has always been bring out the characters, their relationships and having a hell of a lot of fun with them (Firefly being my favorite example).  And I know you've heard it before, but casting Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner (The Hulk) was oddly genius.

Now for the newly released films that I haven't seen:

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel:  Aside from a stellar cast, I'll watch just about any film that deals with reinvention and especially the fear that comes along with a major change (one that you work past, that is).  This film is brimming with talented actors and amazing cinematography, but I get the feeling it will not be a soul-changing event to see it - I will see it anyway.

Dark Shadows:  This hasn't been getting the best reviews, but I'll go see it because it's a Tim Burton film and I think it'll be fun.   I'll see if for the cast, the director and because Seth Grahame-Smith was on the writing team.  If you're wondering why that name should be familiar to you, read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  I know that not everything he writes is wonderful, but I can't help but read it anyway.  

Moonrise Kingdom:  I'm not a diehard Wes Anderson fan, but I do admire his style and I keep watching his films - made completely uncomfortable by the dysfunctional characters and awkward moments that eventually, and completely against my will, endear them to me. I know, I sound like a fan, but I know true Wes Anderson fans and I'm not at their level.  But I do like the eye for detail and the wonderful music that is always a part of his films and I admit to liking what he does with the talented actors who play along with him.  The moment I watched the preview for Moonrise Kingdom, I knew I'd go see it, even if I have to go by myself to a matinee (considering the heat and humidity here, an air-conditioned theater might be just the place to be).  I like that the central characters are kids who fall in love - I like the hopefulness and innocence and awkwardness of it.  And I like the odd and overreacting troupe of adults who get involved.  The two words I see over and over again in reviews about this movie are "whimsy" and "precious."  The former is meant in a good way, the latter is not.  But I know I'll love it, and here's why: "Dear Suzy, walk four hundred yards due north from your house to the dirt path which has not got any name on it. Turn right and follow to the end. I will meet you in the meadow."

Other movies to consider this summer:

6.01.12: Snow White and the Hunstman (or not, see the review Linda Holmes wrote for NPR)

6.08.12: PrometheusSafety Not Guaranteed

6.22.12: BraveAbraham Lincoln: Vampire HunterTo Rome with LoveSeeking a Friend for the End of the World

6.29.12: People Like Us

7.06.12: The Amazing Spider-Man

7.20.12: The Dark Knight Rises

8.17.12: The Odd Life of Timothy Green

In Post-Production, Squeeze Your Thumbs: A Fantastic Fear of Everything

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