Monday, May 01, 2006

Movie Mon. - It's Hard to Play Sudoku and Pay Attention to Movies at the Same Time

Reduced movie watching this week due to massive Sudoku addiction among other things; here be the brief reviews.

Casanova: Period piece with Heath Ledger playing the infamous ultimate lover, who is commanded to find a wife and settle down or else be exiled from Venice upon pain of Inquisition. I was pleasantly surprised by this one; I went in expecting a stodgy drama, and was greeted by an entertaining comedy instead. It's sort of Dangerous Liaisons Lite; all the intrigue, but 1% of the drama!

Tristan and Isolde: Now, here's the stodgy period piece! Film based on the legend of star-crossed lovers caught up in the wars between the Irish and the Britons following the fall of the Roman Empire. Have to admit, I actually dozed off during this one, and had to rewind it a ways when I woke up and thought to myself "hey, why are the people staging a revolution, and whose head is that Tristan is holding in his hands?" Not a badly done film, but just couldn't keep my interest at all; maybe if I'd tried to watch it while I wasn't sleep deprived . . .

Mammoth: Intentionally cheesy film from the Sci-Fi channel about a frozen mammoth that gets possessed by an alien life form and terrorizes a small town. Not a whole lot to say about this one; its self-aware humor worked some times, and other times fell flat. Most of the times the humor fell flat involved the inclusion of "zany" sound effects, used in a "look, we know how silly this is, all right? Now, back off!" sort of way. Self-aware and tongue in cheek: fine. Slapstick and sound effects reminiscent of the more painful moments in The Batman Film That Must Not Be Named: not so much.

Black Christmas: Slasher film from the 70s starring Margot Kidder and Andrea Martin as girls in a sorority house being stalked by a psycho killer around Christmas time, brought to us by the director responsible for Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things, A Christmas Story, and Porky's. Now, Silent Night, Deadly Night this is not; it's actually a very well done little film. It predates Halloween (in fact, director Bob Clark takes credit for the idea for Halloween on the commentary) and thus avoids many of the clich├ęs of the genre which would pop up post Halloween and Friday the 13th. Margot Kidder is fun as the foul mouthed, drunken sorority girl, and most of the other cast members do a good job as well; one thing that's enjoyable about the film is that the characters all feel well developed. Best scene in the movie is probably the murder intercut with shots of the children caroling; switching back and forth from the (mostly off-camera) violence to the creepy little kids was pretty effective. Much better film than I had expected.

Shopgirl: Romantic dramedy based on the book by Steve Martin about a department store worker (Claire Daines) who becomes romantically involved with an older, wealthy patron (Steve Martin). Another film that bored the heck out of me; about the only scenes that held my interest were those involving Jason Schwartzman as Daines' spurned lover, and then only for his terrifically oddball performance. I disliked having Martin do the narration as well as star; the narrator voice is obviously not from the P.O.V of his character, so his pulling double duty was a bit distracting. I would have much rather seen the long-gestating film version of Martin's hilarious play "Picasso at the Lapin Agile", if for no other reason than to see if they somehow worked the "In Order of Appearance" gag into the script. But instead we got this; I have to wonder if the book is any better, but to be honest, this film in no way made me want to find out.


Anonymous said...

Well, you pretty much sound the same. Way too smart for the rest of us mouth-breathing, barefoot Wyandotians. Sorry I never got that chance to help you beat off... the women with a stick. We need to talk man. I have been reading your Wyandotte beginnings posts and can put this all into perspective if you like. As one of the "more than acquaintances" you had in school, I can shed some light on a few things. I did always consider you a friend, and had no problem telling people that. I am fully aware of who ol' Vick is...but my memory gets fuzzy, am I The Comedian? Diva turned me on to your blog (that broad has SOO changed),so contact her for my e-mail address. I know as much about computers as I do about pleasing a woman, and I don't want to accidentally post it for all the world to see.


Cap'n Neurotic said...

Once again, behold the power of blogging and its ability to reconnect me to people I haven't seen or talked to in over a decade.

Yup, Cedric, you are indeed The Comedian. I've asked Diva for your email addie but haven't gotten it yet; in the meantime, feel free to give me a holler at

Redneck Diva said...

So many things to comment on!!

Okay, I just read Shopgirl this weekend. It was an absolutely fetching book, but not near as good as The Pleasure of My Company, his first novella. (I honestly think it could be considered one of my favorite books.) But after reading Shopgirl I did wonder if there was any way they could turn it into a decent movie. I was afraid they couldn't, as your review seems to state. Steve Martin is such a talented writer and his writing, in many ways, simply cannot be translated into something worthy of the screen. But read the book. And the first one, too. Then let me know what you think .

Okay, Cedric, you called me a "broad", dude. "Chick" is fine, but a broad? You also didn't say whether the change was a good one. :)

Now, who is Vick?

Cap'n Neurotic said...

Okie doke, Diva, I'll add those to my evr-growing reading list.

Ol' Vick is the nickname I use for my former best friend from elementary and junior high; talked about the dissolution of our friendship here.

Rocket said...

Just so I can contribute to your budding addiction, here's where I get my fill of Sudoku.

Anonymous said...

Come on Redneck Diva...You have to know who Ol' Vick is. Or are you just way to old to remember. lol.
And Cedric-the-destroyer...I have to agree with you on the not knowing how to please a woman bit. lol All in good fun. It's nice to hear from the people I grew up with. As for what I have been up to in case you were wondering check out Now that photographer is awesome!!!

Anonymous said...

you're right, sudoku is eeeviiilll and soooooo addicting.