Thursday, September 17, 2009

Friday, 9/18/09

Eight movies opening in Salt Lake today, and I have only been able to see 3 of them. It was a busy week, what can I say.

I didn't see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Informant!, Love Happens, Afghan Star, or My One and Only.

Jennifer's Body - 3 stars

This was a lot of fun. Imagine if Sam Raimi was more interested in cool teen speak and pop culture references than the Three Stooges when he made the Evil Dead movies.

For the first 10 minutes, I thought this was going to be a horror movie. Then a club catches fire. Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried are outside having a conversation while people run out of the club screaming and covered in flames. I thought, WTF??? Very surreal. Then the next day at school, J.K. Simmons shows up as a teacher with a hook for a hand. That's when I realized that this was a comedy.

From that point on, I loved it. I laughed a lot. Just like in Juno, Diablo Cody's dialogue is very self aware, trying really hard to be hip, and sometimes makes almost no sense. Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried are very hot in this. My biggest complaint is that there is no nudity. This is the type of movie that should have had some nudity. But I guess neither actress was willing to go there. So we just get a lot of teasing.

Oh, and you will never listen to 867-5309 the same way again.

Lorna's Silence - 2 1/2 stars

Lorna is an Albanian girl living in Belgium. She lives with a guy named Claudy. They don't sleep in the same bed, so we assume they are just friends. Claudy is very needy. He is trying to quit drugs, and he wants her to lock him in the apartment when she goes out so he won't be tempted to go look for drugs.

It turns out they are married, but it is a sham. She is friends with some scam artist, and they arranged for her to marry him so she could get Belgian citizenship (Claudy is a Belgian). They have a plan in mind to get him out of the way so she can marry a Russian mobster in order to help him get Belgian citizenship. With me so far?

The movie feels disjointed. One minute, Lorna can barely tolerate Claudy. The next, she is willing to sleep with him just to keep him from using drugs. One character is on screen in a scene, the next scene he is dead. It feels like there are scenes missing.

Lorna is in love with a guy named Sokol. She and Sokol plan to open up a snack bar with the money they make from these scams. Her plans are complicated when she gets pregnant. The pregnancy segment also feels like scenes are missing. She wants to get an abortion, abruptly changes her mind and decides to keep the baby, then she is back in the doctor's office being told she is not pregnant. I was confused.

The movie is very interesting. The lack of a musical score made it feel more real, and I loved the way most of the dialogue was done in two shots. Typical Hollywood movies cut back and forth between the characters, but this movie usually stayed on the two people who were talking with no cuts.

Arta Dobroshi did a great job. And unlike Megan Fox or Amanda Seyfried, she doesn't have a 'no nudity' clause in her contract. Seriously, when Megan Fox is skinny dipping and the camera carefully avoids showing her naughty bits, it took me out of the movie. It made me think about the fact that Megan Fox refuses to do nudity. But the sex scene in Lorna's Silence, and the lack of careful camera cuts, made it feel more real. Gotta love those Europeans.

I would have liked the movie more if it didn't feel like it was missing scenes. There were several times I had to rewind the DVD to make sure I didn't miss something. Maybe that's a good thing that the filmmakers are not afraid to let some action happen off camera, but I was confused at times. I can only mildly recommend the movie.

Cold Souls - 2 1/2 stars

Paul Giamatti stars as Paul Giamatti, an actor. He is doing a play and he is not happy. He doesn't know what is bothering him, but he can barely function. He hears about soul storage and decides to check it out. There is a clinic that will remove your soul and store it for you. The idea is your soul is weighing you down, and you will be happier without it.

There is a sub plot about Russians who are involved in soul trafficking. They pay Russian people to donate their soul, then turn around and sell them to Americans. When Paul Giamatti wants his soul back, the doctor at the clinic (the always dependable David Strathairn) talks him into trying out a Russian soul.

The Russians decide to try getting American souls to sell to the Russians. But they figure it's easier to steal American souls than to try and buy them. They take Paul Giamatti's soul and when he finds out his soul is missing, he goes to Russia to get it back.

This movie reminded me of Being John Malkovich or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but it isn't as good as those. I feel like they could have done a lot more with the story. It's not a bad movie, just kind of flat. But if you like Paul Giamatti, he is as good in this as he ever is.

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