November 15, 2004

Weekend Flix

Aside from the birthday weekend, what else did we do? Well, we watched a lot of movies. Even went to two. Here's the rundown...

Dirty Pretty Things
Dirty Pretty Things is the latest starring that cute chick from Amelie. Iím not sure I can adequately describe the plot. Letís just say that it was weirdness. And Iím not opposed to weirdness, in general. But weirdness must be well executed. Iím not sure this was. Quick plot summary: Former doctor who ran away from political strife in Africa is an illegal immigrant driving a taxi and working in a hotel in London. Amelie Chick is a Turkish refugee and working illegally in the same hotel. And this hotel? Weird shit goiní down, peeps. Like organ donations. See? I told you it was strange. Normally, Iíd watch pretty much anything with Amelie Chick. The problem is, she brought nothing to the movie. Its like Grace Kelly showing up and leaving the hotness in her trailer, Audrey Hepburn forgetting the elegance in the car, or Robin Williams refusing to break out the funny. These things just shouldn't happen. But it did here. The breakout star was Chiwetel Ejiofor. His performance is worth the rental fee.

The Office: Season One
I realize Iím a couple years behind the rest of the world when it comes to The Office. Iíve got BBC America. Iíve flipped it on and Iíve never really been all that amused. But you people keep telling me I should watch it and, being a dutiful blogger, subject to the will of his readers, wishing only to please, I follow instructions. What did I think? Iím not sure. Its not the funniest thing Iíve ever seen. But it is funnyÖin an extremely dry kind of way. And I know why I didnít find it funny flipping it on in the middle of an episode on TV. You have to watch these in order, you have to get to know the characters and their neuroses (of which there are plenty). Its astonishingly well-written, wonderfully acted and the entire thing is genius. Iím warming up to it.

Bridget McBeal: For No Good Reason
Playing the lead role in Chris The Good Husband this weekend, since it was my wifeís birthday, I agreed to go see the latest Bridget McBeal movie. Let me clear up something here and now Ė I do not despise chick flicks. I actually enjoy many of them. This, however, was not one of them. The first one was decent. See Bridget. See Bridget be insecure and stuff. See Bridget bitch and moan about being single. See two guys fight over Bridget. See Bridget pick one and be happy. Fine, enough said. Did we need more? Nuh-uh. But we got more. This time Bridgetís got it all and yet sheís still all complainy. While she was a likable character in the first, sheís just a brat in this one. The fake, posh British accent Renee Zellwigout puts on doesnít help either. Why not move Bridget to Boston, set her up in a law firm where she can imagine sheís seeing dancing babies and fall in love with quirky legal partners or, maybe, Robert Downey Jr. and pepper the whole thing with lots of Vonda Shepherd and Barry White tunes? Oh, wait. Thatís been done, hasnít it?

The Life of David Gale
It was expected that The Life of David Gale would be a controversial film. It wasnít because no one actually went to see it. Including me. But Iím glad I eventually got around to watching it. Sure, its heavy. You wouldnít really expect a movie about the death penalty to be a feel good film, wouldya? While yes, it is a downer, its also extraordinarily well-acted - Kevin Spacey is excellent as is Kate Winslet. Its less of a discussion about the death penalty than it is a story about one extraordinary case. And although my wife guessed it half-way though, thereís an interesting twist.

Kill Bill Vol. 2
Iíve never been Quentin Tarintinoís biggest fan. I think heís overrated. And pretty much a freak. And a spazz. I knowÖpot, kettle, black and all that. Why Reservoir Dogs is so highly thought of, Iíll never understand. Pulp Fiction was good, not great. But the combination of volumes one and two of Kill Bill constitute a brilliant film. Maybe Iíve finally seen the light. Maybe I get it now. While Kill Bill Volume 1 was primarily focused on carnage, the second volume showed us the relationships driving the whole story (well, there was some eye plucking, gunshots to the head and plenty of blood too). The combination of excellent acting, beautiful direction and fantastic music made me believe that Quentinís not just an overrated hack. He might actually know what heís doing. But heís still a spazz.

The Grudge
Know what I really like? A good horror movie that creeps my ass out. Not one with a requisite decapitation every two minutes but one that toys with you a little bit, one thatís a little smart, not just one that aims for the lowest common denominator. The Grudge fit the bill. Sure, there are very few people youíve heard of in it, the actingís not spectacular and Buffy Michelle Slayer didnít add anything Ė that character could have been played by anyone. Its not a character-driven movie - just an overall things-that-go-bump-in-the-Japanese-night kinda movie. Creepy? Yes. Fun? Definitely.

Aimee Mann: Live at St. Annís Warehouse
Aimeeís the Mann! The recently released package (containing a live DVD and accompanying audio CD) is a pleasure to listen to and watch. Mannís performance is much like her songs Ė nothing flashy, pretty straightforward but enthusiastic. Her backing band was solid (although her guitarist? Yeah, I could do that. Aimee, if youíre listening and need a guitarist for that new album, let me know, okay?) and the setlist was fantastic. Dude, she played a killer version of Invisible Ink, my favorite Mann song. What more could I ask for?

Bottom Line:
Dirty Pretty Things:
The Office: Season One:
Bridget McBeal: For No Good Reason:
The Life of David Gale:
Kill Bill Vol. 2:
The Grudge:
Aimee Mann: Live at St. Annís Warehouse:

Posted by Chris at November 15, 2004 2:59 PM

Well that is quite the variety. Sounds like a really fun weekend! And Aimee Mann is lovely. I don't know her all that well - I only have the "Magnolia" soundtrack - but I totally love belting it out in the car.

Posted by: supine at November 15, 2004 3:09 PM

Ok, I have to make this statement... Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason is a very good book, but they cut all the good parts out to make the darned movie. Note to readers: Read book, do not watch movie.

Posted by: goodsnake at November 15, 2004 3:23 PM

I've been waiting for someone to be able to put into words what I thought about "The Grudge." I certainly couldn't do it. I even confused myself wondering what I thought about it after it was all said and done.

Good job, and thanks :)

Posted by: Jen at November 15, 2004 3:28 PM

Yeah, Bridget just wasn't right... glad you liked Kill Bill though. I'm really looking forward to the special DVD release of Kill Bill around Xmas.

Posted by: Carla at November 15, 2004 3:44 PM

The funny thing is that with all those things, I've only seen Kill Bill. I haven't even seen Amelie.

Does this mean I need to get out more?

Posted by: alektra at November 15, 2004 4:05 PM

After Pulp Fiction and 4 Rooms, I got fairly creeped out with Quentin-- After Kill Bill 2 (since 1 was still on the edge for me)? Kinda in love with him a little.

Posted by: bmh at November 15, 2004 4:37 PM

There's a whole lot on that list I haven't seen. I have seen The Life of David Gale, which I liked. My little sister keeps telling me I need to see The Grudge, which isn't much a reccomendation, really. But now that you've recommended it I might ;)

Posted by: Heather at November 15, 2004 5:50 PM

One could never say that the cactus isn't well rounded!

Posted by: Jade at November 15, 2004 6:15 PM

Are you using OLIVES to rate your weekend?

Posted by: Jenny at November 15, 2004 6:52 PM

Are you kidding me? THE GRUDGE WAS NOT FUN! Why, oh why, do we pay to get freaked out?!?

Anyways, it was not fun at all because you know what I ended up doing the whole entire time? Yeah I was the girl who you want to box her ears because shes screaming during parts that were not even slightly scary (e.g. I thought that the ringing of the doorbell was scary). Know why? I had my hood over my head the whole time and it just made it worse. End result- having the whole audience laugh at you.

Oh and still I have to throw something on my bed first before I get into it. Why did that scary Japanese girl have to come out like that? STAY AWAY and leave the hot boys alone!!!

Conclusion: I'm never paying to go see another scary movie. EVER.

Posted by: Maureen at November 15, 2004 8:27 PM

I just got back from seeing The Grudge! What's scarier than just seeing it in a theatre full of people? How about in a theatre with only 3 other people. Then my date had to leave and take a work phone call, so I was sitting there watching the rest of it alone! Completely freaky! I don't think I'll be able to go up into my attic for a long while thank you very much!

As for Tarantino, I think he's a genuis! Who else would think of doing Pulp Fiction meets uber scary vampires from hell, From Dusk til Dawn. But the Kill Bills are definitely his best work to date.

Posted by: groovebunny at November 16, 2004 1:34 AM

I thought they were golf balls Jenny.

Posted by: wlfldy at November 16, 2004 7:48 AM

oh god. i've been trying to purge from my mind that eye-plucking scene from KB2. Makes me cringe every time I think of it. This entry just brought the horror back full force. ick. Love the movies though. I'm holding out till they package the movies together. I bet it has some kick-ass special features. I'm all about the special features. Uh, yeah. I'm still talking about DVDs.

Posted by: patricia at November 16, 2004 8:13 AM

i felt the exact(!) same(!) way(!!) about the Office. now, i was super impulsive and actually bought seasons 1 and 2 on dvd based on the fact that so many people i know and respect think it is sooooooo funny (the dvds were on sale, but not by that much). so i watched season 1 straight away and well, yeah, by the last episode, i found it amusing. and i think if i rewatch it, i'll enjoy it that much more. i'm waiting to do that before starting season 2.

Posted by: Priscilla at November 16, 2004 9:08 AM

Kill Bill Volume 1 and 2 are both awesome. I love the way Tarantino uses music in his movies. Even if you don't like him (and I actually do) you've got to admit he always has killer soundtracks.

I have deliberately avoided the Bridget Jones movies because I liked the books and was pretty sure Hugh Grant and Renee Zellweger would ruin it for me. Sounds like I may have been right.

Posted by: bad penguin at November 16, 2004 10:08 AM

I thought the Life of David Gale is what Kobe Bryant's accuser must have watched before meeting him. Possible similarities there..

Posted by: Kelly at November 16, 2004 2:34 PM