Recap: 15 February 2009

Missed my recap last week due to the lack of a weekend thanks to work. But it definitely made me appreciate finally getting a break this weekend!

What I Watched

  • He’s Just Not That Into You (3½ stars): A cut above your typical romantic comedy, but it doesn’t hit the bar set by Love, Actually. Still, I really enjoyed this one, and it strikes me as pretty guy-friendly. This one’s taken a lot of critical flack because it plays up stereotypes while proclaiming to knock them down, but, frankly, I just didn’t care. I had fun, the crowd had fun, and that’s really all I was looking for.
  • A Life Less Ordinary (3 stars): This is exactly the sort of romantic comedy I would expect from Danny Boyle. Funny, sweet and weird.
  • Confessions of a Shopaholic (2 stars): I didn’t go into this movie wishing for me than a mildly fun time, but I didn’t even get that. It’s really too bad because the cast was excellent, but they just couldn’t do anything with the story they were provided. I still have no idea why I was supposed to root for the main character, let alone root against the debt collector who was just trying to do his job.
  • Scoop (3 stars): My third venture into Woody Allen territory. I was mildly amused but not blown away. Better than Manhattan but not as good as Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
  • Oliver Twist (3 stars): This is the 1997 TV version that ran on ABC. I had semi-fond memories of it, mostly due to the fact that it aired during the height of my crush on Elijah Wood. It didn’t quite live up to my memories of it, but it was still fun and a fairly solid depiction of the classic Dickens story.
  • Neverwhere (2½ stars): I read Neil Gaiman’s novel several months prior to taking in the 1996 BBC miniseries, and I’m glad I did it in the order I did (despite the series coming to life before the book). There are some stories that need a big budget, and this is one of them. I’d still love to see Neverwhere on the big screen some day because I think it’s a really cinematic story, but it just didn’t work on the small screen with the tools they had to make it.
  • Coraline (3½ stars): This was one creepy movie. Seriously. Don’t let the cute trailers fool you. That being said, the first half was a little slow, but once things got rolling in the second half I was pretty entranced. The third act felt a little too easy, but this is certainly one of the better films out right now. As for 3D vs. 2D, I would have preferred to have seen it in 2D, but Neil Gaiman himself says see it in 3D since it’ll be available forever in 2D and not in 3D. So there you have it. FYI, it won’t be in theatres in 3D much longer thanks to the ubiquitous Jonas Brothers.

I should also mention I saw Lee’s Summit West High School’s production of Footloose on Saturday. Despite some issues with the sound system (something you get accustomed to seeing in high school productions), the kids put on a great show. The choreography was impressive, and the two leads especially did a stellar job. If you’ve got high school or even college productions happening in your area, make sure you go out and support them when you can. It’s amazing how much work goes into a production like that, and the arts programs deserve the support of the community they’re trying to entertain.

What I Read

I finally finished Breaking Dawn this past week, meaning I’m through with the Twilight series. I think I’ve already made it clear that I was unimpressed. Now, I’m not going to go as far as Stephen King did because it’s obvious by the astounding success of the novels that Stephenie Meyer is doing something right. I’ll simply say that I wish her editor had pushed her harder. While I didn’t enjoy the novels (as evidenced by the several times I was sitting on my bed literally yelling in frustration at them), I’m glad that I read them so that I can have an informed opinion at the very least.

I also read through JK Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard, which I found to be quite charming. They stand fairly well on their own even without the foundation of the Harry Potter series, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what Ms. Rowling has up her sleeve for future works (whether they’re set in magical worlds or not).

What I’m Writing

EARNEST is doing better this week. I’d been feeling really frustrated by it and by the writing process in general. And then three things happened.

  1. Screenwriter Kevin Lehane (along with several others, but I saw his first) posted a link on twitter to this wonderful TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love). It really struck a chord, and I’ve felt much less pressure ever since.
  2. I listened to a Creative Screenwriting podcast with Robin Swicord, screenwriter of The Jane Austen Book Club, among other adapatations (including screen story for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). She shared some practical tips for adapting novels into screenplays, and I feel much more comfortable attempting the feat now.
  3. I listened to another Creative Screenwriting podcast with Luc Besson, who gave the simple advice of listening to the same music for the entirety of a project. I’ve heard and employed this before, but I’d sort of forgotten it for whatever reason. I’d been listening to Sondre Lerche on and off throughout my struggle with EARNEST, and it occurred to me that my less hair-pulling nights have been whilst listening. So now, the earbuds go in as the fingers hit the keyboard.

That’s it for now. Look for the rest of my Oscar predictions this week as we gear up for the big show on Sunday. Have a lovely week, all!

One thought on “Recap: 15 February 2009

  1. Umm…yeah, that BBC NEVERWHERE thing was pretty terrible.

    I vaguely remember the Elijah Wood OLIVER TWIST movie, but for my money the best adaptation of TWIST was the Masterpiece Theater version from 1999, starring Andy Serkis as Sykes (how’s that for a LORD OF THE RINGS connection?).

    Personally, the only Woody Allen movies I can stomach are the ones not set in NYC.

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