Absolutely hilarious! I laughed out loud again and again. Not only at the Italian stereotyping, but the characters themselves, because they were exceedingly well drawn. The premis is simple, a closeted gay Italian Canadian man, involved with another closeted gay Italian Canadian man, comes out to his family. What isn't simple is that entire proposition is fraught with pitfalls, where all the comedy comes from. I loved that it was Canadian, that it was set in Little Italy in Montreal, that it starred starred Paul Sorvino, Mary Walsh and Claudia Ferri. I watched the short lived bilingual Ciao Bella, which was spun out of this movie and just loved it. I seriously laughed harder at this than I have at any other movie in a long while. Watch it!
The Squid and the Whale
This has a Royal Tenenbaums feel to it, but not so much that you are affected by it. Set in 1986 in Brooklyn, two boys have two very different reactions to their parents divorce. There is lots of stuff here, and definitely needs more than one viewing to take it all in. I take back what I said before about Jesse Eisenberg channeling Michael Cera and now definitely think it's the other way around. His character, Walt, is decidedly different from his Adventureland character, whereas Michael Cera's two characters in Juno and Superbad are very much alike. Great performances by Laura Linney (whom I love) and Owen Kline. The film ends very abruptly, with no satisfactory conclusion, but is still satisfying, because this is actually how life is. A definite must see.
Overall this was a good movie. Of course, there were things I liked and disliked about it. I liked that it was set in 1987. The clothes and music took me back. I liked Jesse Eisenberg although he was channeling Michael Cera something fierce. He is very cute, love the cheekbones, aquiline nose and the curly hair, especially when it got wet. Kristen proved that she really only knows how to play Bella Swann. I say that because Twilight was the first movie I ever saw her in, and she was exactly the same in Adventureland. I didn't like the stereotyping, that all the Italians in the movie were shown as townie non-intellectuals (one was even labeled anti-semitic) and most of the Jewish characters (with the exception of Joel) were well off and well educated. It didn't make a difference to the plot and felt like the point of view was being forced on the audience. I loved Martin Starr, mostly because his character was much like Bill on Freaks and Geeks. Love his dead pan, dry wit. That boy has talent! It was good to see Ryan Reynolds playing a bit of a jerk character, usually his golden boy roles make me roll my eyes. Good story, not a bit like Superbad, which is great. I'm thinking that we're going to see a lot more movies like this. Even in the previews, there was yet another Judd Apatow flick coming out with Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and others from his past films including his wife. Currently, I Love You, Man is starring Jason Segal, another Freaks and Geeks alum. This is a coming of age story, but I thought it was targeted more at older people who want to look back. I got the feeling that younger people would be bored with the old setting. This is a pretty long post for a movie, probably because I'm reviewing immediately after watching, so my brain is fresh.
The Other Boleyn Girl
Hmm. I decided to watch this movie before reading the book because I had heard the book was so much better. I'm tired of being disappointed by movie renditions of books, perhaps I should start forgoing the movies all together, like Amy. Anyhow, while lush with beautiful scenery and costumes, this film was uninspired and one dimensional. The characters didn't give the viewer a reason to invest in them, and some were very wrong for their parts, especially Scarlett Johansson and Eric Bana. The historical liberties were fine, I went in to it aware that the plot was mostly fiction. I'm still looking forward to reading the book and will blog about it soon.
Ummm, ok Stephanie Myers, I think it's a good thing someone leaked this before you could finish it! Midnight Sun is so self indulgent. Most of your other work is too, but I kept reading because I liked the plot (where it was furthered) and wanted to find out what happens next. Better that you write your next book (which we all know will come out eventually, as money talks) about Nessie and Jacob's relationship. The limited new information we find out from Midnight Sun isn't worth the 265 page read. Give it a miss.
Playing for Keeps (TV)
Interesting concept for a TV movie. A white woman has an affair with a basketball player and gets pregnant. He doesn't believe the child is his until four months after his birth, come to see him and then initiates proceedings to take the child away from his mother. Apparently based on a true story. Canadian production, solidly acted tear jerker. Highly enjoyable, watch it if you get the chance.
Freaks and Geeks (DVD Box Set)
Where the h*ll was I when this was on in 1999? Oh right, I was living in the UK, where it didn't even air! Which was seriously a shame, because I'm sure I would have loved it just as much back then as I do now. Of course, like all shows I love, they are cancelled too soon, just like the excellent Firefly. Set in 1980, it's the story of what high school is like for two different groups of kids, the Freaks and the Geeks. Each episode reads like a mini-movie, the production value is that high. The cast is stellar, the brightest spots being Martin Starr as Bill, John Francis Daley (he's great on Bones too!) as Sam and Joe Flaherty as Mr. Weir. So well written, freshly acted (most of the teenagers were hired for their first jobs on this show, except Linda Cardellini, who was 25), interesting and funny. An absolute must see, especially now that the the DVD box set is available. I'm going to get it for my collection, I love it that much!