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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Weekend entertainment

I ended up watching several movies on video this weekend:

Whiteout. (2009) Grabbed this at the video store, because Larry and I can never agree on a film. This had action, but also a good cast and not too violent. Apparently it sat on the shelf for two years before it was released, but I'm not sure why. It's a solid thriller, with Kate Beckinsale as a federal marshall at an ice research facility in the north pole. A bit cliche, but that doesn't stop it from being entertaining (Larry fell asleep, but that's not a reflection on the film). You certainly feel cold watching it, though it was filmed in Canada, not the arctic.

Surveillance. (2008) A big disappointment. Matt and I picked this out of a lot of other choices on the Netflix Instant Play list. A great cast, with Bill Pullman and freakin' Julia Ormond. This is the sophomore effort from director Jennifer Lynch (yes, David's daughter). I shouldn't have been surprised that an intriguing situation devolved into a lot of gore and some creepy sexual stuff that I could have lived my whole life without watching. Very unsatisfying, and I felt like I had to brush my teeth afterward. What really annoyed me is that the Netflix description of the movie is totally misleading, and so is the description on imdb: "Two FBI agents attempt to understand murders occurring in a desolate region. They approach the witnesses of the latest incident with the help of the local police. All of them hide something and all have wildly different stories to tell." Sounds a lot more psychological than it turned out to be. I would have watched something else if I had known what this movie was really going to be.

The Wedding Dress. (2001) Adorable (though utterly contrived) movie with a bunch of overlapping stories revolving around an old wedding dress. Great cast, including Neil Patrick Harris and Tyne Daly. (Shame on me for being distracted by my knowledge of NPH's sexual orientation. He's adorable, but I kept thinking he would rather be kissing the hot contractor rather than sweet photographer's assistant.)

The Ugly Truth. (2009) Watched this with a couple of girlfriends. A solid rom-com with a some laughs and great chemistry between Kathrine Heigl and Gerard Butler, but, ACK, the cliches - I don't think they skipped a single one. If you can overlook the preposterous plot and exaggerated characters, it's a pretty entertaining film. Bonus - great kiss! It may be the only movie I've seen in a long time where the second half was actually better than the first half - once they calmed down and stopped trying so hard. [Double shame on me for being distracted by knowing that Eric Winter, who plays the hot doctor/neighbor appeared in a few episodes of the TV show, Brothers & Sisters as Robert McCallister's (Rob Lowe) minister brother who has a relatively brief relationship with Kevin Walker (Matthew Rhys). I'm afraid I'll always think of him in this role. To be fair to both me and him, he was very compelling in the role and very believable. And the other good news is that he played a gay character, not in some off-the-radar indie film, but on a much-watched TV show, and he still got a great part in a mainstream studio movie - clearly playing gay doesn't hurt a man's career like it once did.]

I also stayed up way too late to finish the book I was reading, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. A good read that I enjoyed. He's written 3 more books in the series, but I'm not sure if I feel obligated to read them all. He creates a terrific alternate world (about 300 years in the future) and I love his very aggressive messages about taking care of the earth and respecting humanity. But I have a big stack of books on my bedside table and I think I'll try to get through a few of those before I head back to Uglyville and New Pretty Town. Side note: the book has been optioned for a movie (supposedly) with Sigourney Weaver as the malevolent Dr Cable (awesome casting) and Dakota Fanning as the main character, Tally Youngblood. Scheduled for release in 2011.



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