7.29.2010

Down In Front!! The Theater Experience

As I've probably mentioned before, I just so happen to be a big fan of seeing movies in the dollar theaters. I usually will have the desire to see almost any movie in existence, but sometimes I either just don't get around to it or I can't be bothered paying $8-9 on what likely turns out to be a mediocre movie (obviously this doesn't always deter me...for example simply read my post on The Back-up Plan.) When I opt to watch movies in the Provo dollar theaters this can often be a big mistake. Why? Because the audiences in that town can be so dang annoying (especially when watching rom-coms.)

Below are some of the most recent examples of some ill-behaved audiences. If you have found yourself guilty of behavior like this, shame on you!


Recently I saw Killers in the $ theaters...a fine silly action/romantic comedy, but oh goodness the audience was just so darn annoying (and I was even at the Sandy $ theater too!) There were many: OMG's!!! Ooooooh's! and Ow Ow's!!! Everyone was freaking out over everything, and I just couldn't figure out for the life of me why. (I mean....I did freak out at seeing the glorious locations of Nice, France and it only made me more excited to visit that country...just look at the freaking picture) How is it that so many stupid, annoying people can congregate together by chance (and perhaps more frighteningly, what does that say about me that I'm with them??) What is the factor drawing these people? Is it location? Price? Content?


You might be tempted to say "You get what you pay for.." but that's not necessarily true either. The truth is you run into these stupid audiences everywhere. Even seeing Inception for the first time there was a group of annoying teens cracking up randomly during incredibly serious scenes. In the case of that, the film was more powerful and I still remained captivated by the film albeit momentarily annoyed. But in other cases sometimes the audience experience is what comes to define your experience with the film as a whole.

One such experience was when I saw Elizabethtown in the regular theaters. A group of girls somewhere between the ages of 12-15 sat behind me and I was delighted (please note my sarcasm) to hear such loud commentary from them throughout the entire film such as "OMG!! Kirsten Dunst is so cute!! Seriously She's so adorable!" and "Orlando Bloom is so hot!" That experience was pretty awful and colored the movie for me...I hardly remember anything about it but those annoying girls. But it has only happened once that I was so annoyed by someone in the audience where I decided to take action. The movie? The very dumb movie The Astronaut Farmer starring Billy Bob Thornton. I bet you don't even remember it...well that's because it was so dumb. Nevertheless, I still usually like to give my attention to a movie if I'm trapped there (except for when I saw Hidalgo...so bored I was counting ceiling tiles.) And call me crazy but I didn't really like some obnoxious 13-year-old boy kicking my chair and talking loudly. So I turned around and told the snot nosed brat off "Would you please pipe down!!??" It worked okay...but the kid still would have his moments (granted there were far less of them because of my outburst..)

But I hate to give up the theater experience. Honestly, it's probably my favorite hobby, so I'll always take my chances. However, there are some decent alternatives.. Empty matinees are always good (but kind of sad too...because when your audience is good and you're all on the same page then it makes the movie more fun) Drive-ins are a fun too because then the audience is solely who you're with inside your car and that becomes the experience. Then one of the most magnificent viewing options are home theaters. My dad has one in Texas, and soon his house in Salt Lake too. Watching movies that way is simply glorious. The sound system is great...and like a drive in you can bring in any food you want, but the seating is comfier! However, I could never wait til all new releases to watch every movie in that style. Besides...when the audience is just right, theaters are my favorite way to view a film!

7.27.2010

In Theaters: Inception. A Dream of a Film

Last night I went and saw Inception in theaters again for my second viewing. Folks, this is what filmmaking is about. The first time I saw this film I was pretty much entranced the entire time (apart from when my Dad would question what was happening every 5 seconds,) and the second viewing was perhaps even more rewarding. But unlike my Dad, I found that during my initial viewing, as long as I paid attention, everything in the story came naturally, and dare I say it, even made sense.

Both the concept and execution of this film are top notch...honestly you can fill in the blank positive adjective here (astounding, magnificent, stupendous...you pick!) And honestly, it should be...Christopher Nolan had been working on this one for a good 10 years or so. This is his baby, and you better believe he did it right. Comparisons have been made with Inception to pretty much every other movie that contains some fantastic "other world," but honestly? It's better. This movie is simultaneously wholly entertaining, but also incredibly intelligent with its rich complexities and layers (which continue to reward the viewer with multiple viewings.)

I won't get into the plot...honestly go to the movie and see it yourself. The fewer specifics you know, the better. But I will say that the story unfolds itself at a perfect pace so that the audience is never bored. They're always learning something, whether it be in seeing the intricacies that shared dreaming allows or the mysteries that unfold surrounding Leonardo DiCaprio's character Cobb.

It must be said, that visually the film is quite fantastic as well. I was blown away by all of the imagery of the film, from Ariadne's (Ellen Page) training to Arthur's (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) fight sequence. I've always been fascinated with the concept of dreaming and memories, and while the stuff here is vastly different than perhaps the more fantastical imagery found in films such as The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, The Lovely Bones, The Science of Sleep, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, it still resonates just as much and besides it is what the script calls for it to be. The point of the settings of this film is to constantly trick both the characters and the viewers to question what is real and what is a dream.



Now, I haven't even gotten into the merits of the cast here! This is one of the strongest ensemble casts I've ever seen. There is not one false note to be found, and also worth noting is that everyone manages to be likable. While I've heard some complaints about the character development of the side characters, again, that's not the point of the film. The whole cast plays exactly what is called for them (and does so well, seriously the whole cast is so solid), but when it comes down to it, the story only belongs to Cobb (and by degree, his wife.) Because of this, Leonardo DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard's performances really stand out for me. Their story resonates with me, and anyone saying this film is lacking in heart or emotion must be seeing flaws they want to see that aren't there because they're a curmudgeon, or they just watched another movie than me entirely. Cotillard's character, in particular, had such a complex role that I really hope she is recognized come nomination time (the whole film better get a butt-load of awards honestly). Another underrated performance would be that of Cillian Murphy. He gives a character that could be very stereotypical some unexpected depth as well.


So what does this all mean? Well...basically it means that Inception is for sure my favorite film so far of 2010, and it will be near impossible to beat. But even more impressive, from the 2 viewings I'm already certain another shakeup of my top 10 is in order (in fact, I think I do have my new order now...but that shall be left for another blog!) I hope I didn't forget anything I wanted to say...the movie seriously has so much to talk about. But all I gotta say is Christopher Nolan, I can't wait to see what else you've got!

7.18.2010

So Bad It's Good...No Wait...It's Actually Still Bad

Wow. I can't believe it's been a month since my last post! I'm really slacking. What brings me back today is that on Friday I finally saw Inception and I really really wanted to write a blog on it. But I told myself I could not write it until I finished the post I started a month ago about two movies on the polar opposite end of the spectrum than the masterpiece Inception.

Sometimes there's nothing I'm more in the mood for than a bad movie. Last month I had the pleasure (haha I think so at least) to see two particularly awful, yet entertaining films (but mostly only entertaining because of their absurdities)

Last month, my friend Bethany and I saw the Miley Cyrus/Nicolas Sparks collaboration The Last Song in the dollar theater. Actually, she didn't really go willingly, I dragged her in insisting that making fun sometimes is half the entertainment. Sometimes I just want to snicker at the movie and there's no better place than the dollar theater. There's still an audience, but I don't have to waste 9 bucks. As with all Nicolas Sparks adaptations, this film was highly melodramatic, manipulative and cheeseriffic (p.s. I love that when writing this, cheeseriffic was not something that had a red underline for a misspelled word, but Miley was. heh heh.) However, to add Miley Cyrus' first dramatic role and you have a truly entertaining bad movie. And I gotta say, watching her character and the love story in which she was involved was like watching "Beauty and the Beast"...with her in the beast role. She was completely unlikable and that such a sweet, attractive, perfect boy would fall for that cranky, scraggly mess was completely unbelievable. The whole time I kept thinking "Who could ever learn to love that beast?" IMDB rating: 3.2/10. Ouch.

Right after seeing The Last Song, I followed it up with a film that came out last summer called Orphan. Clayton, Sean and I rented it for a laugh based on the previews from last year. While I got some, they were pretty disturbed! For me, Orphan was an extremely preposterous entertaining piece of trash. It was definitely more well made than The Last Song as it featured some fine performances, nice cinematography, and good direction. But the content at the core, was pretty trashy. And the twist at the end is so simultaneously ridiculous and brilliant that it's all kind of laughable. To distinguish I would say that The Last Song was poorly made, entertaining trash, while Orphan is well made, entertaining trash. I honestly could not recommend it to anyone, which is funny since my friend Michael immediately rented it after I was telling him about it! Coincidentally, when reading the reviews of Orphan one reviewer had a quote that totally got what I'm talking about, and which leads me to discuss my all time favorite awful movie!

"Orphan will likely put off more people than it will envelop in its seemingly unintended hilarity. You just have to figure out what camp you are in and go with it. If you’re in the one that endlessly watches the Nicolas Cage Wicker Man compilation on YouTube than Orphan is definitely the movie for you"

That's right that's me! My favorite bad movie ever is 2006's The Wicker Man starring Nicolas Cage. This was one of my favorite movie experiences ever. Me and my dad were trying to go along with it for (surprisingly now that I look back on it! haha) the majority of the film. It was stupid, and there was so much overacting, but we were willing to go with it. And then it happened...Nicolas Cage punched the butchest woman I've ever seen in my life in the face and me and my Dad just lost it. We laughed for the rest of the entire movie as he punched two other women, stole one of their bikes, and finally paraded around in a bear suit. A BEAR SUIT. So fantastic. I still love to watch it for laughs. But remembering how me and my dad lost it in the theater is one of my favorite movie memories. I bought the movie for 1 buck at a going out of business video store. One time my friends and I had a drinking party...but more to see who could pee their pants since the beverages were apple beer and root beer. IMDB rating: 3.6/10

And, of course, when talking about terrible, yet entertaining movies, you have to mention the work of the late Ed Wood. A few years back Anna and I rented Glen or Glenda and Plan 9 From Outerspace. So terrible, bizarre, and hilarious. IMDB ratings 3.5/10 and 3.6/10

So what are some of your favorite bad ones?

P.S. Here's the youtube video for The Wicker Man that I love!
Wicker Man Recut Trailer