Sunday, June 27, 2010

Grown-Ups and This Is It

Nothing to write home about. The best part of this viewing experience, was hanging out with Kari and running into an old co-worker. Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider are entertaining as buddies but the "I'm stuck in my life as a husband and father" jokes get old, fast. Of course they all come to appreciate their lives, through their friendships. Awe shucks.

This Is It 
I had yet to see the concert/memorial movie from Michael Jackson's last days. Friday being the one year anniversary of his death, I thought it was a good time to watch the film. I'm not a huge fan of concert movies, but this one is very well done and of course eerie in that it was filmed right up until MJ's death. The opening title sequence is very well done. I couldn't help but consider Michael's health while watching the movie. Clips of several rehearsals are included. No one will ever really know, but I wondered if he had the stamina for the full length show. I'm going by the outfits MJ wears. Each song rehearsal shows at least two sessions in tandem; no one outfit/session is shown for every song. It was cool to see his involvement in everything from the selection of dancers to the camera use for a 3D Thriller update (a 3D Thriller update, HOW COOL IS THAT?!). The movie definitely ended on the note of Save the World, one of Michael Jackson's legacies: we better save the environment before the damage becomes irreversible.

Great Oak Film Festival

Friday June 18th, I was lucky enough to attend the Great Oaks Film Festival -- Short Films Under the Stars. I was lucky, because this is an invitation only event in Walla Walla. One of the two couples that host the event, are clients at the vet clinic where Jennica works.
The first movie was Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty. A very funny twist on the fairy tale, Granny tell the little girl a bed time story. The "evil" fairy is not so much evil, as just offended to have not been invited to the party because of her age. Animated and excellent visually.

De Beste Gar Forst (United We Stand) is a cute film about a group of octogenarians on their annual hiking trip. A pretty young woman is found, stuck in mud calling for help. Each of the men assist her out of the mud, and then are stuck themselves. Singing and jovial up to the minute of their demises.

The protagonist in Beats Per Minute is a young man from Europe who loves to dance. He receives his big break, a call from Hollywood.

Probably the zaniest and funniest of the shorts, Istallet for Abrakadabra (Instead of Abracadabra) is about a young man who still lives at home, who does magic. His mom is supportive (to the point of injury) and his father has had enough.

The Moon and the Son is animated and deals with the film maker's grief and difficult relationship with his father. His father had ties to the mob and spent time in jail during his son's childhood.

There was a technical difficulty with the subtitles for 7:35 De La Manana (7:35 in the Morning). It was announced that this film would be played at July's festival.

With people who resemble mannequins, Fits and Starts is wacky and fun. A couple drinks orange soda on a couch.
There were delicious drinks and yummy dishes. The hosts provide a drink (lemon basil vodka gimlets) and an entree (homemade sausages) and the guests bring wine, side-dishes, deserts and appetizers. SO good!

Any one know of any other events like this? Please invite me! Flicks on the Bricks, Ferris Bueller's Day Off is July 23rd at 7pm.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sex and the City 2

I'm delighted to say that upon second viewing, my fondness for the much anticipated sequel to my beloved series, was much improved. As much as I loved having Cosmos beforehand and seeing the movie opening weekend, decked out with my girls, I was a bit disappointed. Scott suggested before seeing the movie that I do a blog about movies. I decided that once I gave SATC2 a second chance, I would start my blog.

 The movie begins in Manhattan. Even the studio logos have been Sex and the City-ed with glitter and glam. A delightful remix of the well known theme plays and ebbs into a remix of Empire State of Mind with Alicia Keys. Glimpses of how Carrie and Co met in the 80s are a sweet treat. How time has passed in the last two years for the four begins to unfold and the story shifts to Stanford and Anthony's Connecticut wedding. While grateful that the pairs initial disdain for one another was acknowledged, I still would have liked an explanation of what happened to Marcus, Stanford's boyfriend when the series ended, and a bit more of how Anthony and Stanford became a couple. A constant discussion throughout the movie is the modern and traditional definition of marriage and how everyone shares and varies in their definitions, mainly how Carrie is adapting from ultimate single gal to married life.
We've grown to love these characters for the New York dwelling friends that they are. The departure to Abu Dhabi, is difficult to love as more than half of the film takes place there. Clearly Michael Patrick King, who helmed the series and the first film as well, was looking to take us on a fun adventure, to forgo the drama and darker elements of the first film. While executed, something is lost in the move. I did enjoy the adventures abroad more the second time around. The extended time away from New York was the main hang-up I had with the movie the first time around. That and that the characters seem to become more caricatures of themselves when away from home. I heard many say one of their biggest beefs with the first film was that the time in Mexico was too long. I did not feel that way about the Mexico trip, so in a way I find my perspective on this all the more perplexing. When I saw the movie the second time, maybe it was that I was prepared and also really motivated to be loyal to my SATC, but I did get much more of a kick out of it.
The movie is visual stunning, the fashion more over-the-top then ever before. This is a hallmark of the franchise, always pushing the envelope. The production value is flawless, no critiques there.
As the box office has been less than stellar, outlook for a third film is not promising. My enthusiasm for another venture would depend on a guaranteed glowing love of the movie on first viewing, not one that I would have to learn to like/cheer-lead myself into. That is completely unrealistic, but my sentiment. I mean how many of you would be motivated to go see a third installment opening weekend? The film does leave with a 'The End' visual, so maybe all will be left to our imaginations at this point. The four will continue to lead their lives in New York and take the time to travel to exotic locations for quality time together.