Watchmen: Hot or Not?

I'm inclined to agree, word for word, with the NY Times' take on the Watchmen movie that came out on Friday.  Such a slavishly faithful adaptation of the celebrated graphic novel makes for some pretty shoddy storytelling when translated to film.  They could have shaved at least an hour off the movie.

Not to mention the outstandingly graphic violence, the super awkward and kinky sex scenes, the lack of any sympathetic characters including one-dimensional female heroines, and Dr. Manhattan's undeniably blue schlong (I didn't even notice it at first, but apparently every guy in the theater couldn't take his eyes off it).  

A quote from the review: "The only action that makes sense in this world — the only sure basis for ethics or politics, the only expression of love or loyalty or conviction — is killing...Perhaps there is some pleasure to be found in regressing into this belligerent, adolescent state of mind. But maybe it’s better to grow up."

I liked 300 a lot better. Though the Watchmen visuals were pretty awesome.

How did I not know about this before?

I just saw a brief, tantalizing preview of this film after the Oscars.  Two of my favorite actors in the world, Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, team up for a romance called 500 Days of Summer. And none too soon - I've been craving a smart, well-made romance for what feels like years.

I could come just looking at them together (figuratively).  I've loved Zooey since her breakthrough role in Almost Famous, and I've tracked Joseph's every movement from, I kid you not, Angels in the Outfield, to the eccentric 3rd Rock From the Sun, to the adorable 10 Things I Hate About You, to his horrendously sexy move to darker stuff in Mysterious Skin and Brick.  Oh yeah, and years ago, he brushed within inches of me at my most favoritest bar in Los Angeles, the historic Cat & Fiddle on the east side of Sunset.  I felt a bit like that girl in The Lookout writing, "I made out with Chris Pratt!"  So we chose the same hangouts -- shows the guy's got good taste!

The only question is, how will I wait until July 24?

If you loved City of God...

...I'm pretty sure you'll love Slumdog Millionaire too.  We'd been trying to watch it for weeks and weeks!  I don't think I can say anything really original about it--it's just fantastic filmmaking from Danny Boyle, compelling storytelling from Simon Beaufoy (based on the novel), and images that moved us to tears more than once.  Run, don't walk, to go see it before it disappears from the theaters!

Coincidence? I think not.

Parallels between The OC and Gossip Girl go far beyond the shows' creators (Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage).  I'm sure I am not the first person to ever analyze just how deep they run.  

Garry's convinced that it's effectively the same show/story, set in NYC instead of Orange County.  I maintain that GG has way more delicious scandal and better characters, but gotta admit the resemblances are a bit creepy. So I decided to make a few diptychs (or triptychs)    to compare the characters side by side.
  • Ryan Atwood vs. Dan Humphrey vs. Seth Cohen.  Garry's got a point - if Ryan and Seth had a love-child, Dan would be the result.
  • Kirsten Cohen vs. Lily Van der Woodsen.  They are so alike in appearance and character, I can barely tell them apart!
  • Summer Roberts vs. Blair Waldorf.  Both dark-hair beauties, but Summer's more adorable and Blair's more badass.
  • Serena van der Woodsen vs. Marissa Cooper.  No contest.  Serena is as awesome and vivacious as Marissa is vapid and vacant. 
  • Sandy Cohen vs. Rufus Humphrey.  Garry says they look alike and I think they don't at all!  Maybe the only resemblence is that both of them at one point sang in a band.
  • Nate Archibald vs. Luke Ward vs. Chuck Bass.  No apparent connection except their all moneyed "bad" boys.  And they look pretty good.

Mongol: Nothing to sneeze at.

I saw trailers for this movie a while back but completely missed its release here in the US.  I guess it worked out because Garry and I ended up seeing it together on his laptop last night.  Mongol was not only a breathtaking spectacle of a movie (otherworldly scenery, sweeping vistas, lush textures, fast-paced battle sequences), but it was really satisfying too in its sensitive portrayal of a controversial historical figure (Ghengis Khan), his lifetime love/partnership with his wife, Borte, and the sufferings, loyalties, alliances, and betrayals he endured on his way to becoming the fearsome/fearless leader he was.

The movie was made by a Russian director who had been taught in school that Genghis Khan was nothing but a monster, but later learned of the nuances that colored his early life.  The production budget was $18M (unbelievably cheap for a historical epic like this!) but the look was very expensive.  Two of the lead characters were Japanese and Chinese (but everyone spoke Mongolian), but nearly everyone else, including the newcomer who played Borte, was Mongolian.  I'm completely inspired that they were able to pull off such a fantastic production for so little money and with so little experience.

Definitely check it out if you like historical dramas, war movies, or just very well executed films.

A little movie you probably overlooked.

I know I almost did.  It popped up somewhere on my Netflix recommendations though, and I remembered the kind of weird trailer that went with it.  Penelope.  Produced by Reese Witherspoon and some old acquaintances I knew at Stone Village Productions, and what seems to be a first-time director, Mark Palansky, whose control over a camera reminds me a little bit of Jean Pierre-Jeunet or Alfonso Cuaron (two of my favorites).  The trailer, I think, did not do the movie justice (much like the trailer for Stardust did the movie an outright disservice).

I was pleasantly surprised.  I had in my blog-post queue a rant about the lack of good romantic comedies, but what I got here was even more than that--it was a perfectly delectable modern fairy tale.  Characters that were strangely real, relatable, and warm.  Some well-timed humor and an unexpectedly (and gently) feminist little thread.  Of course, James McEvoy never hurts--he has an inexplicable, irresistable allure for someone so scrawny.

Check out the trailer:

Gossip Girl is like crack cocaine.

 L:  argh, what does a girl have to do to get online episodes of gossip girl?
they're not posting the lastest eps online anymore!
 me:  oh really?
i didn't know they ever did
garry got them somehow
 me:  we're almost caught up
 L:  nice, good job!
 me:  we watched like 4 episodes last night
 L:  that was pretty fast
 me:  yeah =P
 L:  they go down so easily
 me:  we're totally obsessed
it's like a drug addiction
all I can think about all day is when i'll get my next hit