Hey, look! It’s May! Is it just me, or is this year flying by incredibly fast? Well, the good news is, despite April disappearing, I’ve come out of it with a not-completely-horrible-but-still-very-rough first draft of a new screenplay thanks to ScriptFrenzy.
- I’ve started taking horseback riding lessons.
- I got to attend a screening at the new AMC Mainstreet here in Kansas City the week before it opened (they hosted the KC FilmFest). The six-screen theatre’s super cool, and you should check it out, too.
- I’m starting an intermediate French class next week.
- I’ve signed up to take a class from the Kansas City Art Institute about creating a children’s book starting in June.
- I’ve declared that Sunday night is now Guilty Pleasure Movie Night, in which I need no justification to watch a movie other than I just plain feel like it.
- I’m going solo to the Lord of the Rings Symphony next Friday at the Music Hall because that’s how I roll, yo.
- There’s a Narnia exhibition coming to Union Station here in Kansas City May 22 through August 23, and I want to go. Want to come with me?
Now that we’re up to date on that, let’s look at…
What I Watched
- Brick (3½ stars): This is a noir detective film set in a high school. The tone starts out kind of satirical but quickly turns very, very serious. Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives a strong and deep performance, which seems to be par for the course for him post-3rd Rock. Also very interesting visual style. All the more impressive is that this is the first feature effort from writer-director Rian Johnson.
- Evil Demon Golfball from Hell!!! (3 stars): I checked out Rian Johnson’s short film prior to seeing The Brothers Bloom at the AMC Mainstreet theatre. It’s sort of a comedic, modern take on Poe’s The Tell-tale Heart. You can watch it here.
- The Brothers Bloom (5 stars): First five-star film of the year! This is one of those movies that has everything you want: comedy, romance, drama, suspense, action… It’s all there, and it all works together. Rachel Weisz plays one of the most unique and fascinating female characters I’ve seen in recent memory. Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo play the titular brothers in this “fairytale about conmen,” as Rian Johnson himself put it before the screening. It’s getting wide release at the end of this month; if you have the opportunity to see it, I highly, highly recommend it.
- Match Point (3½ stars): My Woody Allen education continues. This is the movie that people say ushered in a new era for Woody Allen, and, I must say, I wasn’t super crazy impressed. I had some issues with the character development, but overall it was entertaining, and I enjoyed the theme.
- Earth (3 stars): Let’s start with the negative: as far as weaving a narrative goes, Earth didn’t do such a great job. It didn’t focus on the “three families” it proclaimed to in the trailer. They were more like bookends to the movie than the heart of it. And the stories they did show? Pretty much all total downers. If you’re going to cast animals as “villains” in a nature story, sometimes you have to show the underdog getting away. Now, the positives? Gorgeous. Informative. A solid first effort for DisneyNature, and enough to make me look forward to next year’s Oceans.
- [Guilty Pleasure Movie Night] The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (4 stars): I named this one of my favorite movies of 2008 (and anticipated it would be such back in September 2008, and I think I’ve made my adoration for this movie clear.
- Across the Universe (3½ stars): This film is sort of an impressionist portrait of the ’60s. Some odd sequences in the middle, but overall a stunning piece of work that’s worth seeing just for the creative challenge of taking the Beatles body of work and cobbling together a narrative out of it.
- Wolverine (2½ stars): Hm. Well. Hugh Jackman looked good, eh? Important lesson here, folks: set pieces do not make a movie!
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (3½ stars): I was really disappointed in this movie when I saw it in theatres. I grew up watching this version, and so I had some very specific ideas about what I wanted to see. And there were some things they took in a different direction. I still think the movie would have been more effective with a greater visual transformation for the White Witch when winter starts to end. In the animated version, it’s like she’s practically melting herself. But having a deeper understanding of the characters thanks to a little more character development in Prince Caspian, I gained a better appreciation for this movie the second time around.
- Mona Lisa Smile (3½ stars): This is a fairly typical venture into the Inspiring Professor Genre. And, while it’s not the strongest one out there, it’s still a solid and enjoyable movie.
- [Guilty Pleasure Movie Night] Stardust (4 stars): Like Prince Caspian, I wasn’t all that impressed the first time I saw this movie, but, also like Prince Caspian, it’s grown into one of my favorites. It was mismarketed when it came out, so, if you discounted it as a boring fantasy epic (which is how the trailers made it look), give it a shot. It’s more in the vein of The Princess Bride in that it’s a love story wrapped in an fantastical adventure story.
What I’m Writing
This week’s going to be spent preparing my Screnzy effort for the BlueCat 10-Page Workshop this coming Saturday. Additionally, I’ll probably start doing a bit of work on incorporating the changes I’ve marked for Monsieur Valentine this past week as well as outlining my next spec script ‘Til Death Parts Us. Sort of a transitory week for the writing gig, but those are necessary sometimes.