Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Movie Madness

Movie Madness? What can I say, I love alliteration. Saw a couple of movies this weekend, one on the big screen, one on DVD. First, the DVD review for Lars and the Real Girl.

[Since this is my first time reviewing movies on the blog, I'm going to institute a rating system that was perfected by my friend Mike Coletti. Mike always believed that movies, motion pictures and films are not synonyms, but rather separate entities differentiated by quality and cultural impact. For example, The Godfather is without a doubt a film, as are Citizen Kane, Goodfellas, The Shining, etc; a comedy like Office Space, well-acted and culturally significant, and hilarious on all fronts would be considered a motion picture, as would a blockbuster with heart, much like Back to the Future, or Raiders of the Lost Ark; and everything else, from Little Man to Scary Movie, is just a movie. So, in sum: Film = excellent; Motion Picture = almost great; Movie = just sort of there.]

Lars and the Real Girl stars Ryan Gosling as Lars, and is the story of a shy young man who lives in the garage on his deceased parents' land, land on which his brother and sister-in-law occupy the inherited house. Lars is hesitant to even join the couple for dinner, and flat-out refuses to move into the house, preferring the quiet solace of the garage. We learn that Lars has always been withdrawn, even moreso since the passing of his father. Also, the pregnancy of his brother's wife seems to bother him, bringing up memories of how his own mother died during childbirth. Constantly alone and withdrawn, Lars orders a Real Doll online at work one day. We quickly learn that Lars does not use the Real Doll for its indended purpose -- a life-like sex toy -- but introduces her to his family as his new girlfriend. I've heard this movie categorized as a comedy, and I guess it is quirky and light-hearted at parts, but it's not exactly funny. In fact, it's pretty sad at points, but I wouldn't call it a drama either. The way the community and eventually, Lars' family, accept Bianca (the doll) is pretty heartwarming. It's nice to see a movie with a unique premise, and one that could have gone down the dark route of Lars being a desperate psycho, but instead focuses on how his delusion improves the lives and relationships of those around him. I don't know if I'd really want to watch it again or anything, but it was a solid effort with some great acting from Gosling, the sister-in-law (don't feel like looking up her name), and Lars' doctor, who played the crazy aunt on Six Feet Under that lived with Kathy Bates. My rating:

Mid-level Motion Picture

The second review up is for Forgetting Sarah Marshall, a Judd Apatow production, written by and starring Jason Siegel, also starring Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis. This movie has received rave reviews across the board for being laugh-out-loud hysterical, and a lot of it is. However, I found it to be a little repetitive. Maybe I'm getting used to seeing the same kinds of cameos from the same people (Jonah Hill, Bill Heder, Paul Rudd) in these Apatow productions, but a lot of the movie felt like I'd seen it before. I can't figure out why I felt that way, as the premise and main characters were all pretty unique and funny in their own right. I suppose I'm just getting used to the same kind of humor employed in these Apatow productions, even though that humor is right up my alley, but it's starting to get a little too familiar. Having said that, the movie was hilarious, and I tend to enjoy these comedies more and more upon repeated viewings. By the time it hits DVD, watch, it'll probably be one of my favorites, but my initial reaction coming out of the theater was simply one of satisfaction. I still give it high marks for originality and the amount of times I laughed out loud. My rating:

Mid-level Motion Picture


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