Wednesday, September 17, 2014

They Came Together (2014)

I didn't have the fortitude or the will to keep up with the 100 day challenge. It was actually a single movie that felled me. It temporarily sucked the soul from my being and made loathe writing about movies from a couple weeks.

Just so you know this movie was They Came Together. I won’t talk about it much but I do have a few words for it. This Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler vehicle and Wet Hot American Summer reunion is a parody of different rom-com clich├ęs that went a little bit too far. I do understand the tone and comedy they were going for but I found it missing more often than not. It seemed a little too forced and they tried to accentuate all the wrong jokes in all the wrong places. I did have a couple of laughs while I watched it but they were few and far between. Although, I have to admit that poop jokes will always get a laugh, especially whilst being delivered by Christopher Meloni.

At least for me it felt like a YouTube parody video that went on for 80 minutes. A sub par SNL sketch that lasted the whole episode and left you wishing you had gone out and rolled in human feces instead of watching it. Okay I am being extra harsh for comedic effect but it did put me off writing anything for over two weeks so take that however you wish.

I would liken whoever saw this in theatres to Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper's characters, just trying to get out of an awkward situation but can't. In the vein of Scary Movie, Not Another Teen Movie, and the whole parody film genre, it was fun for a while but it has been played out. It runs jokes into the ground but does so playfully. If you don't mind those parody movies and even want a little more in terms of quantity and potency then check this one out. If you are a decent, self-respecting human being I would steer clear.  I am slowly getting back in the mood to write so hopefully this hasn't left a permanent bad taste in my mouth because I do enjoy the individual people involved it just didn't pan out this time. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

100 Movie Days: Day 26 - Jurassic Park (1993)

The passing of Sir Richard Attenborough prompted me to rewatch this movie but I didn't get to it until today. Attenborough was five days short of 91 when he died this August so at the very least, he lived a long life. Unfortunately I haven't seen him in any role other than John Hammond, the creator of Jurassic Park, but he will be remembered for great things.

If you haven’t seen this movie after more than twenty years, you should be ashamed of yourself. I hadn’t rewatched Jurassic Park in close to ten years and I wondered if it still held up visually. For the most part I would say yes. The CG was a little bit sloppy in 1993 but can you blame them? They were probably working with technology that we would use as doorstops. The animatronics are still as amazing as ever and can even rival some visuals in film today.

Although in general a very serious film there are a few scenes that really stick out due to their tension relief. The one that always gets me is when Alan scares Tim and Lex by pretending to be electrocuted when he grabs the inactive electric fence. Also whenever Laura Dern screams or cries she contorts her face to the limits and for some reason that makes me laugh. I like to rag on Dern only because I've only liked her in October SkyJeff Goldblum eases the tension with his quick quips yet he doesn't add much of his expertise as the Mathematician on the tour. 

Director Steven Spielberg and composer John Williams are long time collaborators and this is one of their best works. For some other ones check out this article. I am a bit worried for Jurassic World coming in 2015 because trading in Spielberg for relatively inexperienced Colin Trevorrow could hurt the film. Fortunately with Chris Pratt as your lead and great music from Michael Giacchino you can't go wrong. Giacchino may best be known for his work on the new Star Trek film series, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Lost, and Up.

Jurassic Park is still a phenomenal film that is still beautiful visually and has some of the most iconic music in history. If it's been a while maybe it's time to revisit it.  

Monday, September 1, 2014

100 Movie Days: Day 25 - Away We Go (2009)

Two of the funniest people of this generation, John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph come together to tell the story of two soon-to-be parents in their thirties struggling to make ends meet and trying to find a place to call home. 

Away We Go is a journey for Burt and six months pregnant Verona when find out that Burt's parents (Jeff Daniels and Catherine O'Hara) are moving to Belgium for two years right before the baby is due. Not sure what to do now, the young couple decide to visit other couples and families to find the best place to make their home. They meet up with the dysfunctional and offensive Lily (Allison Janney) and Lowell (Jim Gaffigan) in Phoenix, Verona's sister Grace (Carmen Ejogo) in Tuscon, Burt's "cousin" LN (Maggie Gyllenhaal) in Madison, old college friends Tom (Chris Messina) and Munch (Melanie Lynskey) in Montreal, and Burt's brother Courtney (Paul Schneider) in Miami. Each of these couples are parents despite flaws or personal problems. It isn't Burt and Verona's responsibility to fix these flaws. All they need to do is love each other and promise to be the best parents they can be to their little baby girl. After an amazing dialogue on a backyard trampoline Burt and Verona decide to go.....Home.

Until the visit to Madison, the pace of the film was slow and it was somewhat painful to watch. Once they visit LN's house though, the comedy starts to balance the drama and and the movie picks up. I enjoyed that they made Montreal to be one of the best destinations, albeit mainly due to the family they were visiting, but I was disappointed they didn't feature poutine like they alluded to. The soundtrack heavily features Alexi Murdoch whose song Orange Sky has played over many a sentimental moment in film and television.

The two main characters are just a tad self-righteous but if you can ignore that then you'll really enjoy  the story it is trying to tell. The lesson to be learned is that even if family abandons you and you're struggling to make a living you can always find your place in life. If you have a beautiful house by the waterfront to fall back on. Sorry if that is a spoiler. In all seriousness though, it is a nice movie and although it's a drama John and Maya add the right amount of comedy to keep it light while staying on point.