Been a while, so let’s get to it, shall we?
What I Watched
- The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (3 stars): I got about halfway through this movie and realized I didn’t really have any clue what was going on. To clarify, I understood what was happening, but I guess I missed the meaning of it somewhere along the way. The last third of the film seemed to get to the core of the message, and that’s when I got interested. So, with a 2-star first half and a 4-star second half, it’s seeing Hugo Weaving in drag that bumps this up to 3 stars instead of 2½ for me.
- Watchmen (4 stars): Having recently read the graphic novel and having enjoyed it immensely, I was pretty excited for this movie. Happily, it lived up to my expectations. It’s not a perfect movie, of course, but it’s faithful to the tone of the graphic novel in most places, and it’s as visually stimulating as I’d hoped it would be. (And no, that was not a reference to the post-rescue scene in Archimedes.) Whether you’ve read the graphic novel or not, the film is certainly worth seeing for the epic storytelling and different take on the superhero genre. Truly, though, if you’ve been against reading the graphic novel because you “don’t read comics,” then do yourself a favor and get over that prejudice. There’s more depth to Watchmen than half the “traditional” novels out there.
- Peter’s Friends (3½ stars): This is a charming little picture about nothing more than a group of friends and how the ways they relate to one another both change and remain the same through the years. It’s got all the sorts of moments you’d hope for in a film like this: funny ones, poignant ones, heartbreaking ones, and sweet ones, too.
- Annie Hall (3½ stars): Continuing my Woody Allen education, I was pleasantly surprised that this movie lived up to most of the hype, unlike Manhattan. Neurotic Woody at his best employing film devices that have been used numerous times (and usually less effectively) since. Highly quotable, highly memorable, and worth your time.
- Waking Ned Devine (4 stars): It’s extremely rare that a movie makes me cry out of sweetness instead of tragedy. This is one such gem. It plays as sort of an elderly, Irish buddy comedy. Laugh-out-loud funny in a lot of parts, and it leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy. Time well spent.
- Let the Right One In (3½ stars): No offense to Twilight, but this is a REAL vampire movie. That being said, it’s not exactly traditional either. It’s part love story, part coming of age tale, with a side of horror thrown in for good measure. Make sure you choose the subtitles because the DVD defaults to the absolutely horrendous English dubbing. Also worth noting, Lina Leandersson, the girl who plays Eli, is one of the most captivating young actresses I’ve seen in a long time.
- Duplicity (3 stars): I’m still not sure why people seem to think Julia Roberts needs some sort of comeback, but I suppose this is as good a way to do it as any. I feel a bit blasé about nonlinear storytelling these days, but it works well enough in Tony Gilroy’s follow-up to Michael Clayton. It’s a fun, heist sort of movie, and it’s fun to see Roberts and Clive Owen paired up on screen again (their first outing being the interesting if lacking-in-point Closer). That being said, part of the fun of a heist movie is being able to potentially guess where the crosses, double-crosses and triple-crosses are happening. Duplicity doesn’t always do the best job of that, but it’s still the smartest romantic comedy so far this year.
- Happy-Go-Lucky (2½ stars): Despite Sally Hawkins’ great performance, this movie left me feeling a little cold. It plays like a bit like Amélie without the whimsy or hopeful undercurrent. The theme instead seems to be, “Life is what it is, and a lot of the time it’s kind of crappy, but you might as well make the best of it because it’s what we’ve got.”
In Other News
ScriptFrenzy is only eight days away! If you’re at all interested in writing a script (TV, film, stage, comic book, whatever your heart desires), then get over the Web site and sign up! If you’re in the Kansas City area, stop by the regional lounge and say hello. I’m the Municipal Liaison for Missouri, and I’ll be holding write-ins on both the Kansas and Missouri sides of the state line. So, even if you’re not officially participating, you’re welcome to join in the write-ins anyway. You can view the Screnzy KC calendar here.