Tuesday, August 17, 2010

mooooovies (#3)

The Invention of Lying (dir. Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson, 2009)
This was on HBO On Demand so I watched it on a Sunday night not expecting much, and I don't regret it. It certainly has many funny moments and Jennifer Garner does a very admirable job playing a character who is required by the plot to speak almost entirely in dialogue that would normally be obvious subtext (that's a way to look at this movie, I guess: a society without lies is a society without subtext?). The tone here sometimes edges from surprisingly sad to boringly sad though and, well, is it wrong to ask a comedy to be slightly, I don't know, nerdier? That is to say, if you're creating an alternate reality, shouldn't it be a little more detailed? Everything we know about this reality in which lying hasn't been invented seems to suggest that history for the most part has played out exactly the same as it did in our reality (except for/despite the absence of religion). This might be too much to ask, I dunno.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (dir. Edgar Wright, 2010)
Not being nerdy enough is certainly not a problem for this one and it totally exceeded my expectations, which were basically that I would enjoy some of the form but would be super-turned off by the story. I was happily only half right. From the initial 16-bitty Universal logo, Wright's synthesis of video game and comic imagery is totally fun, full of witty sight gags and useful transitions and characterizations (PS though, with regards to using video game stuff in movies, let's not forget Crank: High Voltage, which does it in a completely different spirit but just as successfully). And my fear that I would find Scott Pilgrim himself to be somewhat of a turd wasn't off, but with pretty much every other character calling him a turd at some point it totally didn't bother me like I thought it would. Basically, the Seven Evil Exes thing was a much more complex metaphor for relationships than I expected it to be (haven't read the books obvi) and this was really fun. (Also there's a scene of Scott Pilgrim talking to himself that made me wonder, who's gonna have the balls to pull the trigger on the Michael Cera/Jesse Eisenberg buddy movie?).

I should probably be spreading these out better.

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