August 5th, 2012

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Ruby Sparks/The Watch/Killer Joe/360

Bonjour dleters! Just got back from a fabulous week in Los Angeles. I did manage to catch a few movies while there. I'm feeling too lazy to do full write ups, but given that I've been good about not skipping posts this year, I figure I'll at least do some quick ones

Ruby Sparks
Yup, I know. Not my usual sort of thing. But I found myself at my favorite indie theater in LA, the Landmark at the Westside Pavillion mall, and this was my best bet. I'm a big fan of Paul Dano, and I've seen Zoe Kazan on stage a couple times. The concept for this movie was cute, but it definitely hit a wall where they didn't know where to take the story. I think I'd have been interested to see Dano's author Calvin play with "writing" Zoe's Ruby a bit more. Also, I didnt really like Ruby herself very much. Maybe I was expecting her to be a bit more 500 Days of Zooey Deschannel, and while I appreciated her being a little darker, something didn't sit right. Maybe she could have been a bit more developed. However, I will give major bonus points for Antonio Banderas as step-dad Mort.

The Watch
Another LA, tradition, movie at Grauman's. I'd actually wanted to check out El Capitan this year instead, but given that The Watch was on my list and I wasn't too inclined to re-see Brave, Grauman's it was. I was rather unimpressed. I adore Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn, but they were just playing the same Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn we always see. Nothing really new, although I did like Vaughn's relationship with the daughter. The one who didn't follow his usual path was Jonah Hill. His character was darker, and more reserved (for the most part), and that def made him the one to watch. I was also intrigued by Richard Ayoade, since I was unfamiliar with his work. That new blood was a nice addition to our roundup of the familiar. I was actually counting laughs for a while. I think we got two audibles and like 4 chuckles. Less than ideal.

Killer Joe
By the time I reached my last day in the city, I was pretty much ready for it all to be over. The plans I'd had for the day fell thru, so I gladly retreated back to the Landmark for the week's new movies. Killer Joe, definitely right up my alley. So dark and violent and messed up as all \m/. I had a lot of "did they just got there"? moments, and I really wasn't sure how it'd all play out. Matthew Mcconaughey was perfectly balanced between psycho and suave. Juno Temple was dazzling. The scene stealer was Thomas Hayden Church, who was lovably dumb, but well intentioned. His simple minded interjections broke the tension would break the tension and cause everyone to laugh during inappropriate scenes. It was great!

360
I didnt know anything about this movie, but I was sold on Ben Foster. I pretty much ran straight here from Killer Joe just as it was starting, and spent a good twenty minutes wondering if I was even in the right place. And then I saw Jude Law, and everything was (relatively) okay. This was one of those lots-of-small-interconnected-characters type of films (like Crash or Magnolia, etc). I inherently dislike them because I dont think any movie will ever nail that technique as well as Magnolia. It works if its a bunch of viewpoints on some story (like Contagion or even Vantage Point) when when the point is the relationships or some philosphical statement about how we're all connected, no. This was your typical pretentious indie. Everybody was cheating on each other with everyone else, only to dump each other simultaneously and not be happy. I didnt get it.