PATRICK STEPHENSON

Earthbound concerns of an ascendant adult

Movies Lately Seen

with one comment

Atonement, dir. Joe Wright: Holy guacamole, is this film good. (Notice that was a declaration, not a question.) I saw Atonement at the end of a long-assed, overtime-filled weekend. After all that work, sitting fourth-row center before it and being bathed in and overwhelmed by its visual splendiforousness was like a miracle. Artificer of all kinds Briony Tallis tells a lie that tears her sister Cecilia away from her lover (must I use this word?) and houseboy Robbie, who ends up fighting in WWII and trying ever-so-hard to reach Cecilia so they can pick up where they left off: kissing, sexing, both of which frighten Briony. Has the look & feel of a classical romance, but isn’t. Some of the sequences in this movie, including one long tracking shot that follows Robbie around Dunkirk after the battle there in 1940, are stunning—and haunting. I thought about Atonement for days afterward, and now that I have the book in my possession—owned it a while but stole it back from my sister—I will read it.

Cloverfield, dir. Matt Reeves: My girlfriend and I—a pair of geeks—have anticipated this since July, when that mysterious “1/18/08” trailer premiered before Transformers (which isn’t to say I first saw it before Transformers). That trailer: at a bon voyage party filmed in low-budget DV, well-dressed hipster yuppies bid their Japan-bound friend goodbye; suddenly, the apartment shakes, and all the yuppies run up onto the apartment building’s roof where—from the roof—we seemingly see a fireball hit a building a few miles away; still from the POV of the DV, the yuppies exit the roof running and reach street-level just as Lady Liberty’s green, decapitated head hits the ground before them. “Oh my god, oh my god!” yells someone off-screen, and the trailer cuts out. [1]

And before you go in, that is all you should know about Cloverfield. Like Lost, another J.J. Abrams creation, mystery is essential to Cloverfield‘s appeal—before you see it, AND as you see it. What’s this thing (a monster?) destroying everything? Where did it come from? In addition, Cloverfield adopts the philosophy of War of the Worlds, in that an apocalyptic, disastrous event is depicted from a pedestrian perspective, but unlike War of the Worlds, it sticks to “its guns” till the end. It’s completely visceral and totally involving. After a character exits a convenience store onto a street that’s 9/11-like in appearance—smoky, cloudy, I impulsively almost pulled my shirt up around my mouth. To protect myself from the fumes, y’know—on the screen. There’s nothing especially profound about Cloverfield, but it’s a fun time. As with Atonement, don’t let anyone ruin any second of it for you before you see it.

 27 Dresses, dir. Anne Fletcher: Maddie (the lovely gf aforementioned) and I saw this when, on Friday night, Cloverfield had sold out AN HOUR AND A HALF (maybe more) before it started. No mystery now, why Cloverfield made $41 million its opening weekend. So, 27 Dresses instead was a bit of a letdown, but Maddie had been wanting to see it (and joking that she’d forced me to go with) for a while. I was one of like six guys in a theatre filled with girls and women who “awwed” at the movie’s every prompting, to Maddie’s disgust. I thought it was somewhat enjoyable—especially the scene where James Marsden (playing a cynical writer character) and that Grey’s Anatomy woman everyone seems to hate now, stand up on a bar (after several billion shots downed) and lead the bar crowd in a rendition of Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets,” a song I’ve always loved. The movie was overlong, but it wasn’t a nightmare. Ain’t nothing I’m going to rave about to anyone, though.

In fact, I don’t have anything else to say about it.

[1] This is the sort of marketing that’s admired by everyone here at my agency.

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Written by patiomensch

January 20, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. the dark knight is overrated. goonies – now that movie’s still the shit, yo.

    short round! no time for love, docta jones!

    theasiansnoopdogg

    August 4, 2008 at 11:54 pm


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