Friday, March 16, 2007

Is It December Again Already?

New Movie Reviews at This Week:
The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen)

Lately, we’ve been a little bit spoiled. All these weeks with just one or two screenings have made us soft. We’ve been able to see our friends and family again. We’ve actually gotten (somewhat) caught up on all of our reviews. We’ve even had time to go bowling. So this week hit us like a knee to the stomach.

On Monday morning, something strange happened: I woke up. I’m not a morning person at all—nor am I much of a Monday person. But on Monday morning, I practically jumped out of bed, ready to face the week. I scrambled to get some work done before 10, and then (after a flurry of emails about whether or not the theater was ready for us to show up) I took off to Screening #1: The Lookout, which energized me even more—because I actually liked it. What a great way to start the week!

If I only knew what was coming…

That afternoon, I did my time knitting with the girls. Then, since the screening didn’t start until 7:30, I actually had some time to stop at Wendy’s to eat something and do a little reading before rushing off again. I was well-fed and relatively cheery (if somewhat tired) by the time I made it to the theater, where I took my seat between Mark and Kevin and prepared to sit through an entire hour and a half of Heather Graham in Gray Matters. Now, Kevin and I don’t always see eye to eye. But Gray Matters was one thing we could definitely agree on. It’s bad. Boy, is it bad. So bad, in fact, that Molly Shannon managed to look like the calm and collected voice of reason in the film. ‘Nuff said.

As we walked out, I announced that the next time someone insinuates that I don’t actually work, I will tell them to try to sit through Gray Matters. That was hard work.

So when we arrived for Screening #3 on Tuesday morning, Mark and I continued our rant of Gray Matters while munching on the fresh chocolate chip muffins that Mark had brought (yum!). Little did we know that we were in for something even more painful. Generally, I enjoy smaller indie movies. I’m all for supporting up-and-coming filmmakers. But Flannel Pajamas was not good. After the first scene, Mark leaned over and said, “I have a feeling we’re in trouble.” I gave it a little more time, but by the time the two main characters get married—maybe 45 minutes in—I was hoping that it would suddenly turn into an action movie, and that terrorists would bomb the reception, killing the bride and groom, along with all of their annoying friends and family members. (We call that The Kevin Carr Ending, since he often points out that many movies would be much more enjoyable if they ended with key members of the cast dying in a fiery explosion.) I didn’t like any of the characters, nor did I find them interesting. And when the eccentric little brother meets an early end, Mark and I actually cheered. I’m not even kidding. It’s not often that the thought of getting up and walking out even occurs to me—even if I don’t especially like the movie. But I didn’t really want to waste my time. And the fact that it was sunny and 75 on Tuesday just made me all the more angrier that I spent two very long hours in a theater drinking cold coffee instead of sitting outside, enjoying it while I could.

The whole Flannel Pajamas thing might explain why I didn’t mind Premonition so much on Tuesday night. Sure, it had a few inconsistencies, which Kevin announced gave him a Premonition Hangover on Wednesday morning, and he woke up hating the movie even more. I, on the other hand, was interested enough. And I didn’t hate the entire cast. So I was happy.

By Wednesday night, we were pretty beat—and perhaps just the slightest bit delirious. But there we were—me, Mark, and Neil, settled into the balcony of the theater downtown (which, incidentally, frightened me a bit, as it was the scene of the Number 23 Fiasco). This time, the people around us were almost just as chatty as they had been that night. But there was a big difference: I was trying to follow The Number 23. There isn’t much in I Think I Love My Wife that you really need to follow—even if you want to. And, well, I didn’t especially want to. So I found all the “Oh no he didn’t!”s to be extremely amusing—much more amusing, in fact, than the movie itself.

By the time Thursday morning—and Screening #6—rolled around, we could barely remember our own names, much less that of the movie we were about to see. Or where it was that we were supposed to be. We all clung to our coffee cups (and Neil to his energy drink) as we were told that they thought the screening was at noon instead of 11—and as we took our seats in the theater and waited for the projectionist to show up.

“What are we seeing again?” Neil asked as he opened his notebook.

The rest of us paused before remembering that we were there for a screening of The Host—which wasn’t as good as I expected, after Jason announced on Monday that he’d seen the screener, and it was “Frickin’ awesome,” I believe were his words. I’m leaning more toward “interesting.”

Finally, Thursday night rolled around. By then, we were all pretty quiet. None of us wanted to make any predictions about the next movie, since we knew it was our last great hope of the week. Other than The Lookout, I hadn’t really seen anything all week that was really worth recommending. For those of you keeping track at home, I was one for six. That, my friends, makes for a rough week. But our week was about to come to the perfect Kevin Carr Ending. As Neil once again opened his notebook, I reminded him that we were seeing Shooter—and thank goodness for that. After a week of bad movies, after a week of wishing that the characters in the movies we’d seen would die in a fiery explosion, we got to spend two hours watching people die in fiery explosions, over and over again. And it felt good.

Next week is another slow screening week (which makes me wonder what we did to make the people who scheduled seven screenings for this week—plus the Saturday morning screening which I will be sleeping through, thank you very much—hate us so much). But on Thursday morning, I head out for a few days at the Cleveland International Film Festival, where I’ll be watching all the movies I can handle. I promise to report back with as many details as I’m legally allowed to provide.

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