Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Johnny Depp in San Juan and The Twilight Saga: Rhymes With Smushmortion

I know you're all a little tired of hearing about baseball1, and because I like you, I thought I'd give you something more cinematic to read about.

It's been a light couple of months for the movies, and we haven't really found the time to see much of anything2, but we've found the time to find two separate movies based on two separate books (as is often the way).

The Rum Diary

This film immediately scored points because A) it has Johnny Depp in it, B) it's based on a Hunter S. Thompson novel, C) we saw it at AMC, the awesomest theatre chain ever, D) we got free movies out of it.

Unfortunately, those were kinda the best parts of it, because the film itself was far from spectacular. Based on Thompson's eponymous novel, it had been stuck in development hell after Depp basically begged Thompson to turn it into a movie.

Those expecting Fear and Loathing will probably be disappointed, save for one scene, but Depp does once again embody the jerky, staccato style of Thompson's writing in his mannerisms and speech.

The film follows journalist Paul Kemp (a semi-autobiographical Thompson) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as he tries to navigate the tricky waters of national and ethnic pride, shady real estate deals, and love affairs. Unfortunately, none of these themes have any real time to develop as director Bruce Robinson applies a fairly thick layer of gloss to each storyline. The audience is able to tell who's supposed to be good, bad, or indifferent, and we're able to sense the mood of the situation, but everything feels like a dream, as if we've just arrived there and aren't sure from where or why.

But, as I said, we got a free movie out of it, as, during a scene in which the lights are turned on, all of the lights came up in the theatre as though the movie was over. The only problem was that the movie still had a good 15 minutes before the credits began to roll. As we were leaving the theatre, we decided to stop by the customer service desk to grab a poster for J. Edgar, where we were grabbed by a couple of our fellow Rum Diary patrons who were raising issue about the lights. Lo and behold, 30 seconds later, four movie vouchers whooshed through their magic tube mail delivery system, two for us and two for the other two people. Not too shabby indeed, considering we also got free popcorn.

Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 1

Full disclosure: I have not read any of the Twilight books or seen any of the Twilight movies. I will, however, try to be as objective as possible, and judge the film purely on its merits. I actually was really willing to give this movie a chance, especially after reading this article about how the books and movies are essentially a tool of the Mormon religion. I personally didn't think they deserved such a review seeing as I didn't think they were so in depth that they could be used as a tool of anything. I also think a much more interesting story is that all the dark-skinned people are dogs that live in shacks, and all the fair-skinned people are the refined vampires.

Now, there is really only one reason I was willing to sit through this movie.3 Then I found out she was only in it for about 3 minutes. Poo.

Essentially, the movie features Edward and Bella's wedding - her dress wasn't particularly stunning - their bed-breaking honeymoon, and then a solid 90 minutes of her being pregnant. First, there was the shock that she could have even gotten pregnant. Then there was the question of whether or not to have the kid. When's the best time to turn Bella into a vampire? How can they keep Bella alive long enough to give birth? (Hint: the answer involves blood, but not put into an IV, because that'd be too super easy)

From there, some nighttime fights ensued, there was much snarling and gnashing of teeth, some talk of imprinting, and still, no Anna Kendrick.

This movie was very much a "Part 1". It takes a deft hand to, essentially, cut one movie into two, and I don't know if this one was really meant for it. There simply aren't enough storylines left open to really leave it as a cliffhanger. The second film's already been made, and it's going off of preexisting source material, so it will obviously wrap everything up nicely, but really, chop off some of the pregnancy, and bring the whole thing in at a 3-hour clip.

On the other hand, though, come November 2012, I'll be in a theatre watching Part 2. According to IMDb, Anna Kendrick is in it.

1 - I know, I know, you're not tired at all
2 - Plus, sweet bugger all has been coming to Orangeville
3 - Well, realistically, I was willing to because Meaghan and Jenn asked me to, and there are a lot of movies I'm willing to sit through with them, but I digress

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