Friday, March 11, 2011

Drive-by Reviews of Recent Viewings

Cold Souls
Paul Giamatti brings his particular gift of infusing potentially repugnant characters with a bit of grace and charisma to this low-budget rumination on what it might mean to possess a soul. (I suspect he's a very charming IRL.)

Here, he plays "himself" - an actor named Paul Giamatti - who's currently starring in a Chekov play where, after seeing an ad for soul removal and its benefits, decides he'd perform the role better soulless.

Turns out there's a black market for these removed souls which even involves "soul mules." Through this we discover that anyone who uses (wears? injects?) someone else's soul is left with something like a residue that remains behind from large emotional events - a child dying, for instance.

There's such a thing as soul envy, too. For example, if you carry someone's soul and discover it's better than yours, you tend to want to keep it.

I enjoyed this movie in that mild way one does when a movie is full of nice little moments and clever ideas, but doesn't tip over the lip into something you love wildly. Kinda like a date where you enjoy the person's company, but there's no romance in the air (and no one utters some of the most acidic words in the English language, "Let's just be friends).

If you wanted to have a little movie festival with a theme of directly and viscerally experiencing what it would be like to be someone else, you could queue up Cold Souls with: Being John Malkovich and Brainstorm.

Eat Pray Fuck
Yes, that is what it should've been called had the publishers had the guts to follow the calling-a-spade-a-spade trend like the books Sh*t My Dad Says and The No Asshole Rule did.

The plot follows the title; she loads up on pasta in Italy, goes to Bali and believes the crap a shaman tells her (which isnothing much more than your average horoscope bs), goes to India where she witnesses a couple enter into an arranged marriage (which is meaningful for her because she's left her husband), and then goes back to Bali and finds a hunk-cicle to bone for a while, the end.

I enjoyed this in spite of myself, but I think that's because I had no expectations, I watched it out of the corner of my eye while playing games with my six-year-old, and Julia Roberts is just one of those people who's a true movie star, thus she's always interesting to watch.

Throughout, I felt the plain-jane cousin of the emotion of bliss, known as contentment. It was akin to drinking a nice cup of good tea on a brisk day, though not like drinking an awesome cup of coffee first thing in the morning, which is more of a needful experience.

Like a lot of reviewers on Amazon noted, it's nearly impossible to ignore the fact that someone could do this only if someone else was bankrolling them or they were independently wealthy, so spiritual enlightenment for the masses this is not. But, if you were able to overlook the deluxe apartments the under-employed "Friends" had in their sitcom, then you can overlook the masquerade of getting to party on someone else's dime and claim personal growth (outside of the waistline).

Hey, if anyone wants to pay for a couple year's worth of my dorking around in foreign lands, I'll wrote a book claiming anything you want, short of stating today's Republicans and Tea Baggers are honest, reasonable people.

This is one of those flicks where if it comes on TV and you've got nothing better Tivo'd or don't have a book lying around, it'll fill a couple hours harmlessly.

Jennifer's Body
It's official: I just don't like today's torture porn/horror fests. They're too graphic (though, somewhat hypocritically, my favorite movie of all time was the most graphic of it's day: John Carpenter's The Thing), sometimes they're legitimately too scary (I still recall The Grudge at unfortunate times when I'm sleepless in the wee hours and find myself alone in the bowels of the house with all the lights off).

Besides, there's almost nothing to this that hasn't been done before - though the creation of the monster is worth a grin: the character played by Megan Fox, who appears to be playing herself, is offered up as a virgin sacrifice, and since she's anything but, the result isn't as intended.. There was too much gratuitous lesbian stuff, too.

Getting back to John Carpenter's The Thing, it occurs to me that I tend to dig sci-fi-related gore, but supernatural/horror gore either gets my eyes or my stomach rolling.

If you're a fan of the genre, you might want to check this out if it's free, but otherwise skip it.

Morning Glory
Cute little workplace comedy (isn't this a distinct genre anymore?) with no big surprises and a lot of similarity to Harrison Ford's other job-com Working Girl, except this time he's too old to bag the babe without all of us yacking our Jujyfruits into our popcorn.

Another rainy-day, don't-want-to-move-from-the-couch, some-channel-just-started-playing-it-so-I-guess-I'll-watch-it kinda thang.

Jackass 3
There are three kinds of people in the world, those who laugh at Jackass movies (and TV installments), those who are appalled by the same, and those who died trying one of the stunts.

I'm in the first category. I used my little one's portable DVD player to watch it while they all watched something chick-friendly and my chortling intrigued them so much, I had to switch it to the primary TV and man the remote to provide a PG version of the antics. They all laughed very hard, too.

Not for the faint of heart. Disgusting. Embarrassing. Revolting. Wrong on every level. Probably contributes to the decline of society.

But if the visage of someone's ass painted green to look like the rolling hills in a model train set which then rockets liquid poo into the air like an obscene volcano will make you grin in spite of yourself, check it out.

Oh, and you get to see someone use his dick like a baseball bat and then see someone else try to catch the pop-fly in his mouth. If that doesn't intrigue, what possibly could?

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