Monday, November 26, 2012

Minnesota Movie Madness - Catch Up Post!

While I have every intention to actually update this blog less frequently, I am nonetheless compelled to mention my last week or so of movie consumption.

Thanksgiving found me thousands of miles away from my home, the documentary-laden cinematic paradise that is New York City. I spent the holiday with my folks in Saint Paul, MN, which is far from a wasteland for a movie-lover, but certainly the list of choices is just a bit shorter than my spoiled self is used to. No worries - I saved a pile of mainstream titles for this reason only.

And you know what? It ended up being a pretty good movie week.

First of all, I got to meet my Twitter pal Chris and chat about film over a cup of coffee. Something tells me he's quite pleased tonight, his favorite film of the year (still, I think?) having won the Best Feature at the Gotham Awards. (Moonrise Kingdom!)

I'm also glad to have caught up on five movies I wasn't about to miss. Those are:

Flight - which I saw thanks to my old friend Nick dropping by unexpected and whisking me away to the theater in the middle of a tense day on the home front. Flight was honestly a little better than expected. It's fair to compare it to a Lifetime movie, or worse, an after school special. You can't get around that. But aside from the shmaltz, it was a solid performance and what everyone says about that crash landing is dead on - harrowing stuff. I did struggle to understand the film wanted to make about religion. It was brought up too much to be an accident, but I didn't see an over-arching point or resolution to where it started to go with it.

Lincoln - My favorite of the weekend and definitely one of the best of the year. I totally screwed up going to this by myself since my parents would have been floored by this one. I did make them promise they'd go see it. I was thinking this was gonna be a lot more accessible than it was, and I found it being meatier, smarter, and actually even funnier than I was expecting. There were a few flourishes that did leave me with a "yeah this was made with Oscars in mind" but I thought those would punctuate every scene, and there were only a handful. I'm actually hoping to see this again.

Silver Linings Playbook - Could NOT have been more excited about this one. Jackie Weaver is basically the absolute best, it won the big prize at TIFF, AND it has Jennifer Lawrence running around in skimpy clothes? Where do I sign? I was trying to temper my expectations but almost everyone I knew (except a contrarian or two) was raving. Guys - I just don't get it. Not only what was the big deal about this movie, but where's the outrage? C'mon! We're smarter than this! And the movie was, too, for a good 45 minutes! You don't go from being that realistic (and trust me, I know, that shit was a little TOO real) to the complete fairy tale unrealistic "you've gotta be kidding me" lobotomy that got dumped on us. I'm genuinely curious as to how that even happened. Failures on so many levels. And I get why the general population bought it. My parents even came around at the end and left with that "awww!" look on their faces. But I can't help but raise an eyebrow at the super positive critical response. What do I know, I guess. Expect some snarky tweets if this one gets any major awards. Not now, guys, not in SUCH a jam-packed-with-quality year.

Wreck-It Ralph - This one wasn't even on my radar but I read a few super-positive tweets about it and figured it would make a good Dor/Micah girls night out. My niece is eight (and a half!) and perfectly willing to take a break from Angry Birds on my iPad for long enough to see a movie. What a satisfying ride. I loved the visuals and the voices and the concept overall. It could have been weird or bad but it was instead executed nearly perfectly, even if it did lose me ever so slightly in the third act. But, the eye candy and overall sweetness (pun intended) made it impossible to anything but adore this. Surprisingly great and more than anything, totally original.

Life of Pi - Didn't read the book. Don't know the story. Didn't see a trailer. Went because it's Ang Lee and because I thought my parents would dig it. They definitely went ape shit for the darn thing, and it gets no complaints from me either. Though I will happily kvetch about how my mom made an audible "awww!!!" sad little whimper every time something sad happened. I guess that's how I can tell she was engaged. Well that, and she turned to me half-way and whispered "This is really good!" Ah, sweet vindication. (I may or may not have mentioned that my mom is crazy particular about movies and I won't hear the end of it if I choose unwisely.)

My only movie-related regret of my Minnesota trip would be that I did not get a chance to visit the new Uptown theater, which has finally been renovated.

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