August 13th, 2012

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The Campaign

Sssshhh. I was bad yesterday. After Hope Springs, I jumped theaters to The Campaign. It's only the second time I ever do that. But last time I went to the Common, I never left the halls so my second ticked didn't even get ripped. I did spend a few bucks playing a crane game, but then I won a little alligator so maybe I did end up costing them money. Oh well AMC deserves it for closing Harvard and making me go to the Common.

The Campaign. Will Ferrell vs Zach Galifianakis. Two actors I respect, but have mixed feelings about. I've pretty much got Ferrell figured. When he has boundaries, I love him. If his character is more realistic/sincere/grounded I like him. If he's over the top, then it works best in small doses. Here, he approached over the top a bit, but for the most part was on the real side of the spectrum, and his outbursts were contained. In other words, it worked. Galifianakis plays a certain type of role real well. He had a different characterization of that oblivious but well meaning strange person, but at its heart, its still the same of what he does best (only?).

For me, the real win of this movie was the campaign managers. They were pretty. Zach Galifianakis had a smoldering Dylan McDermott, cooly watching everything from the background with a piercing gaze. His humor came more from his placement or small mannerisms, and it was a nice subtle contrast to our larger than life leads. Will Ferrell's wingman was Jason Sudeikis. I'm really getting a crush on that guy, he's so cute and charming. He also was a good contrast to his more blatant counterpart, with smaller scale gages but more clever one liners.

I did find myself laughing a bit more than I usually do for these guys' films, but still not quite as much as I would for the more dialogue driven comedies that I love. And of course I dont need to point out the obvious timeliness of the film given elections later this year. Certainly fun to to be able to put a movie like this in current event context.

The Campaign - \m/ \m/ \m/
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Tarantino/Rodriguez: Grindhouse

While these movies really can function as stand alone films, they're best when aprpeciated as a pair. That's how they were intended, and I was so upset when they ended up being sold separately. Going to a legit double feature (not just me going to two movies) is a lot of fun, especially when your posse takes up an entire row. Add in the fake trailers, and the Grindhouse feel, and you had one of the best movie going experiences ever. People cheered and laughed over the missing reels. All of the intentionally bad editing and worse special effects, and you had some unexpected gold. It's also worth watching them in parallel to catch the overlaps. A few actors appear in both, sometimes as the same characters, sometimes not. There's some cross-referencing going on (ie, a radio message about Death Proof's Jungle Julia in Planet Terror). I'm glad that the boys are at least trying to keep the spirit of this semi-failed experiement going (success in that it was good and enjoyed, failed in that it wasn't as monetarily successful as hoped.)

Planet Terror
I talked this one up plenty on my favorites post. With each subsequent Rodriguez movie I see, I keep telling myself, "That's how you make a kick ass action movie". And I mean it every \m/ time. I especially mean it with Planet Terror. Explosions, zombies, gore, humor. Great cast, better vibe. Love.


Death Proof
There's a common theme with my first viewing of a lot of Tarantino movies. They dont quite live up to my once misguided perception of what his movies were. Like with Jackie Brown, I was expecting action. I didnt understand the pulp appeal. I remember posting a write up on my old blog, and I lamented the lack of action and remarked that the dialogue was kinda good but "who goes to a Tarantino movie for the dialogue?" A friend posted a comment quoting that remark followed by "*raises hand*". I get it now. I really really \m/ do.

Tarantino is a director who has a merry band of actors and crew who work with him on many of his flicks. Death Proof is no different. What makes it special in that respect is that Death Proof gave him the opportunity to let one of his unsung faithful heroes shine: the lovely and incomparable Zoe Bell. For those of you scratching your heads at the name, Ms Bell is primarily a stunt woman. She was Uma Thurman's stunt double in Kill Bill. Now we just recently discussed the awesome that was Kill Bill and all its action-y glory. Zoe Bell was a big part of what made that all possible. Here she had a chance to actually show her face in the front of the camera, take on a sizeable role, and still get to do some of the wonderful stunts she does best.

I'm certainly watching it now with far more appreciation than before. It's been a while, so this re-view is very much deserved. Knowing how it plays out, I'm loving the build up and the dialogue and the--oooh Eli Roth!