Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Just call me Barry

So I've been catching up on movies over the last couple of weeks. Here are three in particular that I thought were pretty cool! All three are based on novels (and Jennifer Anniston is in two of them. But that's just a coincidence. Really, it is).

Marley & Me
Okay, first of all, I need to confess that I haven't read the book, which is a pity because I think books are often better than their moving image counterparts. And the movie is pretty good! In case you've been living under a rock and don't know, Marley & Me is based on actual events and follows the lives of young newlyweds, who adopt a beautiful golden labrador puppy (as a sort of starter kit for kiddies) who turns out to be the 'Worst Dog in the World.' From puppyhood to old age, the viewer watches as Marley wreaks absolute havoc on the lives of John (Owen Wilson) and Jennifer (Jennifer Anniston), who grow as individuals, a couple and as a family. It's a really heart-warming story that reminds us that things don't always turn out as planned, but that sometimes 'different' can be even better.

Alan Arkin plays John's tough but endearing newspaper editor and there's extra eye-candy in the hunky shape of Eric Dane (McSteamy from Grey's). Oh, and look out for Kathleen Turner as the misfortuned doggie obedience trainer. She's only in the movie for a short bit but it's truly hilarious!

I guess what makes this movie a winner, apart from the gorgeousness of golden puppies and pooches, is the ability to relate to what the characters go through. Keep in mind the movie spans about 15 years, so a lot happens to the characters during that period. That's life. On that same note, prepare yourself for non-stop sniffling during the last 15 minutes or so. (What is it with animal movies and crying? Sheesh.) All the same, it's a really feel-good movie, and it'll make you want to go home and hug your dog. Or cat. Even if they do drive you mad occasionally. Or all the time. :)

Useless trivial fact no.1: Twenty-two different labradors played the part of Marley.
Useless trivial fact no.2: The director, David Frankel, also directed The Devil Wears Prada.

He's Just Not That Into You
Of course I had to see this movie - how much more chick flick can you get? Okay, well that's not quite true because in chick flicks, there's almost always schmaltzy moments galore and a sickingly happy ending (hey, not that kind of happy ending). Nope, in He's Just Not That Into You, there's heart-ache and drama and screaming and well, reality. Which is what makes it nice and refreshing. The movie starts off with a little girl being bullied by a horrible little boy (kids, hey?!?!). In tears, the little girl is 'comforted' by her mother who consoles her by saying that's how boys act when they like a girl. And so it begins... Basically, it's a reminder to us chicks to wise up and spot the signs of when a guy is just not interested. How often do we console our friends and ourselves with excuses for why men haven't called / pitched / anything? We do everything to make those excuses when the cold truth is, they're just not that into us. And actually, that's okay. Instead of pining for days (or weeks [or, ahem, months]) it's so much better to see it for what it is and move on. Now, that's not an excuse for you lads to act like jerks and high-tail it as soon as you've 'bedded' a lady. It's more a case of, if you meet someone in a bar, or if you've had a date and then there's 'radio silence', then rather cut your losses. Better that than your dignity. Easier said than done, though. Right, ladies? Yeah...

The movie has a strong cast. Scarlet Johannsen, Jennifer Connelly, Jennifer Anniston, Ginnifer Goodwin, Drew Barrymore, Ben Affleck, Justin Long, Kevin Connollly and Bradley Cooper. Their characters pair up to reflect various aspects of relationships, and while some work, some just don't. Drama: tears and laughter, and hopefully a lot of penny-dropping for the audience. I watched the movie with a couple of my gal pals, and what we saw on the screen really rung true, in more ways than one.

Useless trivial fact no.1: The movie is based on a book which is based on a line from an episode from Sex and the City (Remember Miranda's 'A-ha!' moment?).
Useless trivial fact no.2: Okay, not sure this is a fact per se, but I read somewhere that Ginnifer Goodwin and Justin Long are definitely into each other. Talk about life imitating art. How sweet.

And now for something that could never ever in a hundred trillion years EVER fall under the same genre as the two flicks above. Watchmen is based on the graphic novel published in the eighties, and believe me when I say what it lacks it sentimentality and fluffiness, it more than makes up with violence. It's still cool, though!

I've heard a lot of bad reviews about Watchmen, which is actually kinda sad. I think some people bought their tickets expecting a superhero movie along the same lines as Spiderman, Superman, Batman or (heaven forbid) the Fantastic Four (bleuch!). In which case, they were in for a nasty surprise. Watchmen is dark, gritty and yes, violent. The superheroes don't possess any actual supernatural powers (except for Doctor Manhattan) and they're in fact a bunch of vigilantes who dress up in costumes because the scumbag criminals they went after were also in costume (you know, as you do). For a while, the Watchmen are hailed as heroes and adored by the public, but as time goes on, the tables are turned and suddenly they themselves are being targeted, forcing the ones that survive to go into early retirement. Anyway, with the rather brutal murder of an ex-superhero, formerly known as The Comedian, the story begins.

The plot is fairly complex and poses a few universal questions. At least, that's my take on it. Then again, the movie theatre I was at has a prehistoric audio system and periodically, the channel carrying the voices (does that make sense?) would disappear and the audience would be left to lip read. (FAIL!) So yeah, I missed some pretty crucial parts. The movie is set as the height of the cold war between Russia and the States, and this plays quite a big role.

Anyway, forget about any pre-conceived notions of superheroes and go watch it. Be warned though, it's pretty violent. Almost Quentin Tarantino-esque. It's also directed by Zack Snyder, who directed 300 - another film not exactly known for it's touchy-feely-sensitivity. But the characters are cool. Especially Rorschach. And I like Nite Owl too, even though his 'day persona' is a little nerdish.

Useless trivial fact no.1: The Comedian, who in spite of being one of the 'good guys' is actually a real bastard, is played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Yeah, he's the guy who plays Denny Duquette on Grey's Anatomy, though trust me, he's much, much nicer (read: hotter) in Grey's.
Useless trivial fact no.2: Nite Owl is played by Patrick Wilson, who was the peado-creep in Hard Candy and the philandering hubby in Little Children. But in Watchmen, he plays an uber-super-duper good guy. (Except in the love [sex] scene with Silk Spectre, cos there he turns into an animal. Ahem.)

So go watch some movies, and don't forget the popcorn...

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