weekend chaulked full o’ movies

Last night I dreamt that I had already gotten ready to go to work.  I’m sure people have had this dream, you use the bathroom and take a shower, and then wake up and discover that you have to do it all over again.  Those are the worst, it’s almost a theft of your time, you’re asleep and dreaming, why dream of what you’re about to do??  Anyway, other things I remember are that I was in a fight, the guy I’m fighting is very familiar, but not a single name comes to mind.  The fight is also unusual, as I had just watch Sherlock Holmes and I was attempting to inflict punches much like in the movie, I’ll go in to this later – below.  Then I’m at some premiere of a new pilot, they’re screening it at a bar on the beech, apparently it’s a surfer show, sort of like Pacific Blue, if anyone remembers that show on USA.  While in the premiere I see my old roommate, and he tells me that he’s adopting a blonde girl, yeah, that came out of nowhere.  Then I make my way to the apartment, the design is different, but it’s where I live.  There are glass doors separating the call box from the apartment entrance, it reminded me of this place we stayed in Connecticut, where they structure was a three unit thing, but the front door was the same.  So you walk in to the front door then there are steps that go in to each of the units.
I had a long holiday break.  But it was only three work days.  It still feels like forever, getting back in to the grove of things just didn’t feel right this morning.
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So this weekend I saw some movies.  Watched Gentlemen Broncos again, always a pleasure.  Then Land of the Lost, followed by District 9.  Those are the movies I saw that I had already seen.

Here are the movies I watched for the first time:  Woody Allen’s Melinda and Melinda.  A movie about a story and the perceptions people take from it.  Melinda walks in to a dinner party unexpectedly and where does it go from there?  This is the start of the movie, some writers at a table, one of them begins with this premise, then the dramatic writer tells his version, and the comedic writer gives his take.  It’s a great analysis of how perception is a big part of how we tell stories.  But I found the comedic writer’s take not really that funny, instead focusing on small bits of life as funny rather than the story arc being funny.  Both versions of the story were quite tragic.  Perhaps this is just Allen, since he did write and direct.  If it weren’t for Will Ferrell perhaps the “funny story” wouldn’t have been so funny.  Still worth checking out.

I gave in to my nephew’s wishes and we saw Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.  Is it sad to say that the first movie was better?  Alvin 2 didn’t have as many songs, I realize that this movie’s purpose is to introduce the Chippettes, but still… I grew up watching the Alvin and the Chipmunks cartoon, even some of the old ones.  There’s just something universally funny about sped up voices.  Why are we paying for live action actors to voice the chipmunks in the movie? Justin Long, Christina Applegate?  Not needed, you can’t even tell it’s them.  Oh well, the kiddies loved it.

Now on to Sherlock Holmes.  In the vein of re-boots of late, this is the latest installment in the Hollywood fodder.  It’s quite entertaining.  Guy Ritchie’s style actually serves the story instead of just being his motif.  Sherlock is played as being eccentric, almost over the top.  While Watson is the straight man in the story.  Mark Strong plays Blackwood, the antagonist in this movie, Ritchie previously worked with Strong in Rocknrolla.  Like all reboots this one is more gritty and realistic.  Holmes actually hits most of his “trademarks” shall we say?  There is a boxing scene, which there are in almost all of Ritchie’s movies.  Holmes smokes a pipe, he plays a fiddle, he uses a magnifying glass, he has deductive reasoning, he’s a borderline jerk.  But gone is his hunting cap, which is fine.  So we have Holmes, we have a non-fat Watson, we have a villain… who else are we missing?  The answer is Inspector Lestrade, here he’s played by Eddie Marsan.  You may remember him as the villain in Hancock.  So the characters are all there.
On to the story, it’s your typical Holmes story; something supernatural terrifies London.  The public fears it as being supernatural, but only the duo of Holmes and Watson can uncover the practical science by which the villain uses to mask as supernatural.  The story is very complex, and elaborate conspiracy of technology and science mixed in with diabolical intentions… sprinkled in with some puppetry from a familiar heel.  That’s enough said without giving too much away.
Guy Ritchie’s trademarks are not absent from this movie as mentioned above.  His fast editing style serves to showcase Holmes’ deduction reasoning skills, this is first shown as he ponders how to subdue a night watchman.  He goes through a list of punches and blows he needs to inflict on the poor night watchman to take him down.  Then Holmes actually does it in real time.  This is almost displayed in the boxing match, another one of Ritchie’s trademark motifs.  Holmes is in an underground boxing match type thing.  He’s fighting an opponent much larger than he is, but Holmes has his brain.  The sequence is filmed beautifully, Holmes deciding what punches to use and where.  It’s done in slow motion and it just works.  This scene could’ve been lifted straight from Snatch, but it works for Holmes as well.
The most enjoyable part of this movie is the interaction between Law and Downey Jr.. They just play the iconic characters of Watson and Holmes so wonderfully.  It’s riddled with trademark road signs along with a breathe of fresh air.  I smell squeak… ummm I mean sequel…

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