Monday, August 23, 2010

The 2010 Summer Screen Review (Part II)

Having fallen way behind on this list as well as that of my reading, I figured I'd take a few minutes to quickly bring it closer to up-to-date.

In late July, Sonya sat me down to watch my first ever (as far as I can recall) Woody Allen movie. I went in with a little bit of trepidation (suspecting that Woody would bug me) and some hopes for enjoyment (since the movie of choice was Annie Hall, the one Woody Allen movie that I've wanted to see). Well ... I'm glad I saw it. While it was true that Woody himself did annoy me -- quite a lot, actually -- I did enjoy Dianne Keaton's performance and understand why it's such an iconic role in her career. So, I'm glad I saw it ... I'm probably done with Woody Allen movies for now, at least the ones that he's actually in. I could probably enjoy some of the ones where he's behind the scenes.

We also watched The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which I enjoyed thoroughly. While it's not likely to be everyone's proverbial cup of tea, it certainly had a nice blend of surreal comedy and fantastic visual style that appealed to me greatly. Their way of handling the untimely death of Heath Ledger was ingenious and worked well in the context of the story. There were a few points in the movie where I thought the pacing lagged a bit, but in light of the whole, the consequence is negligible. Very enjoyable.

On the home front, Sonya came my way and together we watched Whip It!, the delightful (if unsurprising) roller derby movie starring Juno's Ellen Page along with Kristen Wiig, Drew Barrymore (who made her directorial debut as well), Juliette Lewis, and other familiar faces. Again, it's not a revolutionary film, but it's good fun.

Later, I re-watched Die Hard with a Vengeance, the only Die Hard movie I've ever seen from start to finish. The only reason I've seen that one is that Sam Phillips, one of my favourite singer-songwriters, has a role as a mute assassin. Mute, and she still manages to be one of the more interesting characters in the movie.

Of course, I also spent a little time watching less pulpy fare, with Carnage, from France, being an international entry in my summer viewing. Essentially a character study in which we see the lives of several people linked by a single bull, killed and divided after it gores a bullfighter in the ring. That's right. Sunshine and lollipops all around.

And while watching foreign-language films from France, I also watched The City of Lost Children, borrowed from ... who else? ... Sonya. Also not to everyone's taste, but certainly to mine, this bizarre film about dream stealers (sort of) was visually delicious and suitably off-kilter for an evening's enjoyment. I'm a fan of Ron Perlman and found it intriguing that the poor fellow managed to perform the entire movie in French ... which he does not speak. Given that he was also surrounded by a French cast and crew, I'd love to sit down and discuss the experience with him sometime. Ha!

On the TV-on-DVD front, I've been very active. (Why not? There's nothing on television these days anyway. Add to that the fact that television episodes come in nice, digestible lengths and BOOM, I'm watching a fair bit of it.)

I watched the entire live action series of The Tick and found it quite delightful. Seriously. Patrick Warburton was pretty much genetically predisposed to this character in every way. It's a shame it didn't last longer, because its writing was witty, focusing mostly on the less heroic aspects of a less-than-heroic group of superheroes' lives.

I also enjoyed a trip back in time, thanks once again to Sonya, with the first season of WKRP in Cincinatti. What a great show that was. My joy was further multiplied when I realized that both the famous Thanksgiving episode ("As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!") and the Fish Story episide (in which Johnny Fever's reaction times miraculously improve as he gets more drunk) were both in the season. Hahaha! So much fun.

Later, it was off to the movies with Jackie and Jeff to see some goofy comedies.

Dinner for Schmucks was your typical frustration comedy, not particularly worthy of recommendation, but I didn't die either.

Grown-Ups featuring ... well ... most of the male cast of SNL from the mid-nineties. I'm happy to report that it wasn't as bad as I expected. Is it revolutionary? No. Is it more than a few fart jokes? Thankfully, yes.

Oh! And I almost forgot my most recent completion! The third season of 30 Rock! That show kills me to no end. Seriously. It's one of the funniest things on television today.


Sonya said...

HOORAY! What an enjoyable Summer if you ask me.

Bullets Over Broadway is your next Woody Allen effort - I found my copy!

I too LOVED Imaginarium and am soooo glad I got to see it again with you :)

Whip It was fun.

The City of the Lost Children is actually Chris' and I too throughly enoyed it!!!

I'll have to borrow WKRP sometime, or we'll have to watch it in bits at your place over the Fall/Winter. I really did enjoy how much the characters were developed right from day one.

I thought Chris was going to enjoy reliving NewsRadio with me this Summer after we finished Glee & Big Bang Theory, but he doesn't really enjoy reruns. Sigh... I tried again w/ Roseanne, but he won't even let me take it out of the box...

I'm so glad you got into 30 Rock, I do so love that show!

Don't forget, we also dutifully completed True Blood, Season One.

Also, we saw Alice in Wonderland - or was that before the Summer? And I THINK I had you watch Sleeping Beauty??? I think I also had you watch a chick flick of some kind, but can't remember for sure.

Chris & I have been re-enjoying the extended Lord of the Rings movies. I have seen them soooo many times and I STILL love them!!!

We HAVE to go see Scott Pilgrim. AND we need to hit the Drive-In w/ Jackie. OH! And we need to schedule a Chocolat date too!


Jerome said...

Woody's not actually IN Bullets, right? If that's the case, I'm willing to give it a shot.

I'll definitely add True Blood to the list, as I'd forgotten that. (It took us so long to get through. Ha!) We discussed that I'd never seen Sleeping Beauty, but we haven't actually watched it yet. Alice was in May, I think, and I don't recall any other chick flick either. Hmmm.

As for Chris and his questionable taste in television, that's a lengthy debate on its own.

Jerome said...

And don't forget that we have to watch The Ten Commandments: The Musical starring Val Kilmer. Bahahaha!

Sonya said...

Nope, it's Woody free :)

Hmm...ok, Sleeping Beauty is a future must then.

Ah yes! How could one ever forget The Ten Commandements: The Musical - ha!