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 We learn that Lars has always been withdrawn, even moreso since the passing of his father.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 Constantly alone and withdrawn, Lars orders a Real Doll online at work one day.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

I'm Back -- The Boston Sports Edition

Seems it's been over a year since my last post. Whoops. With so much going on in the world today, I figured it'd be a good time to start the blog back up. Let's start off talking about the current state of Boston sports.

It's been over a week since the Bruins were eliminated by the Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs (shocking, I know). I can't say I was disappointed in this outcome. I hadn't really been following the Bruins at all this season. I knew they had a young, talented team but I didn't expect them to accomplish much because, well, they're the Bruins. On the other hand, I absolutely love playoff hockey, maybe the most exciting sport on a per-game basis. I missed Game 1, one they lost by quite a margin, and wasn't sure I'd bother tuning in for the rest of the series. Boy, am I glad I did. The fact that the series went to 7 games was practically a miracle, and the B's should be proud of their accomplishments. I heard Aaron Ward on the Toucher and Rich show (WBCN, 104.1 FM Boston) saying that usually, when a team loses in the playoffs, they want their opponent to advance so they know they got beaten by the best. Ward did not have those same sentiments towards Montreal this year, and basically proclaimed his hatred for the Canadiens, making him a tried-and-true Bruin. Let's hope they re-sign this tough defender and get some revenge next year.

Last night was Game 4 of the Celtics vs. Hawks series, and seemed like another "foregone conclusion" game -- "Oh, the Celts had an off-game in Game 3. The Hawks didn't win that game, the Celtics lost it. They'll bounce right back and win the next two, case closed." Well, last night the Hawks WON Game 4. The Celtics squandered a 13-point lead in the first quarter, and a 10-point lead in the 3rd quarter, and were simply out-hustled and out-played. Has the officiating been bad in this series? Borderline horrendous, but that doesn't make up for the drastic ups-and-downs the Celtics showed on the court last night. If the Hawks can play the kind of game they played last night in Boston, they might pull off one of the greatest first-round upsets in NBA history. Will they be able to? I doubt it, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous.

Red Sox were off last night, and that's probably a good thing. Talk about another sliding team, where the hell have the Boston bats been as of late? Two great starts by Buchholz (why leave him in for 8 innings? I know he only had one hit, but aren't we trying to save this kid's arm?) and Beckett (yes, he allowed two runs, but he also had a career-high 13 strikeouts! 13 K's and the offense is shut out, just what we needed) were all-for-naught. I still hear talk radio shows blaming the team's recent battle with the flu and the exhaustion from the Japan trip as excuses for the recent slide. We're still giving them a pass on that? Wasn't that trip over a month ago now? They just haven't been hitting or playing well in the field, it's as simple as that. I have no doubt they'll turn it around, and fast, but columnists, please stop making excuses for them. They're big boys, they can handle it.

In other news, the Patriots drafted some defensive players, including a first round linebacker pick whose name escapes me. The draft is boring to me, so I'll give you my opinion once this guy actually plays and makes an impact, but any new blood that can be injected into the ancient linebacking corps is a good thing, a very good thing.

Also on the radar (but barely), the New England Revolution are a soccer team that play home games at Gillette Stadium. They are currently in the middle of a MLS season. That is all.