Sunday, March 22, 2009


Here’s a fun experiment for everyone to try. Put yourself in a big group of females, mention the name Edward Cullen, and see how many swoon. Edward Cullen is of course one of the main characters of the Twilight series. This book series has been adapted to the big screen, with more installments to come, and was just released on DVD Narch 21st. To celebrate the big release of the DVD, many places had midnight release parties like they’ve done with Harry Potter. However, I’m sure many of our loyal readers are asking themselves what the big deal is with these movies. Let me explain to you my experience.
Twilight is the first in a series of four books. The first installment introduces us to Isabella Swan, who moves from Phoenix, Arizona to Forks, Washington to live with her dad Charlie Swan. On her first day there she meets her Biology lab partner, Edward Cullen, who seems repulsed by her very presence. However, as the film progresses and these two get to know each other, we learn that Edward, who is described as being a gorgeous model type teenager, may have more to him than we think, which could cause problems for not only his family, but also for Isabella.
I saw this movie a while ago, and have kept thinking about it. I don’t want to lead people on in believing that it is such an amazing movie that I just haven’t stopped thinking about it, because that isn’t exactly the case. I’ve read the books and hoped that the transition from book to movie would be smooth, more specifically as smooth as Edward Cullen is said to be ;). However, this is not what I experienced. I didn’t like how some of the things that were in the book got changed, and I’m not talking about slight things, like to color of the water, I mean pivotal scenes that were kind of ruined and were only slightly reminiscent of the scenes in the book. If I hadn’t read the book I probably would have liked the movie more than I did.
The acting was fine. Nothing outstanding. Robert Pattinson, who is known for being the courageous Cedric Diggory from Harry Potter, played Edward Cullen. While I’m not saying that he is bad looking in any way, I didn’t see him and this drop dead gorgeous creature that had been described in the books. He did seem tortured, which is what the character called for, but he probably also had problems with the changes from the book. Kristen Stewart fits well in the looks department with her character, Isabella. Her acting was fine but I think she needs to get deeper into the role. She said the lines right and her facials expressions were good, but I didn’t get the feeling that it went much deeper than that superficial level.
I know that this review will not go over well with the fans of Twilight, and I count myself as one of them. But before you all decide to hate me forever let me recap what I have said. The movie would have been better for me if I hadn’t known about the book. The acting was average and could have been deeper. I liked the music and the scenery as well. I am going to give this movie a 6 and challenge those involved in New Moon, the Twilight sequel to make me eat my words.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Marie and Bruce

Initial Reaction: "What the hell was that?"

If ever there was an off-putting movie, it would be Marie and Bruce. It's about an unhappy married couple, and not much else. I thought it might offer us some insight into the joy, pain and often never-ending struggle that couples experience. Some might say it did, but geez, I thought insight of any kind was hard to find here.

Marie and Bruce claims fame with me as one of the few movies I didn't want to finish. I mean, I kept thinking that maybe, just maybe the end would redeem it somehow. But the rest of it made it become less and less worth it. I did finish it though, and because of that I am able to bring to you a more complete and negative review.

Marie and Bruce have been married for a number of years, and (thankfully) have no children. The film begins in the morning, and we hear Marie, played by Julianne Moore, telling us how much she dislikes her husband, played by Matthew Broderick. And this isn't just "I'm not sure if I love him anymore" or "Things have changed." This is full on hatred. She's filled with disgust, and as she looks at him sleeping in the bed next to her, refers to him with a string of profanity. He wakes up, and as he does so, she throws up her hands in frustration and whines "No!! Don't wake up!" This opening scene sets an interesting mood and tone that last for the majority of the film.

After they get up, they both make their way into the kitchen and start talking. They go back and forth between extreme politeness dripping with sarcasm and open distaste. When he tells her he's going to have lunch with Roger, she exclaims about how wonderful that is and goes on and on about how she's sorry she'll have to miss out on all of the interesting things Roger will have to say. It's very obvious she feels the opposite.

So this is essentially most of their interaction. They go throughout their day, trying to stay occupied since they're both unemployed and certainly don't want to spend their free time together. He goes out to lunch with Roger (played by Bob Balaban who does an incredible job being boring), then checks himself into a cheap hotel to drink and watch people through their windows. Marie goes out to lunch (apparently though they're unemployed they still have plenty of dough) and ends up being followed by a stray dog as she walks through the city streets. This ends up as a strange, almost dream-like scene in the woods by a river where she actually seems happy for a while.

You know, it's difficult to write this review because I feel like I don't have much to work with. Most of the time the main characters are pretty shallow, and when they're not, there's really nothing going on. From the very start of the film, Marie keeps telling us that she's planning to leave him. The same day, in fact. That night, when they got back to the house, she would tell him she is going to leave him. That's pretty much what keeps us somewhat interested in what is going to happen.

Marie and Bruce, I found out after the fact, is adapted from a play of the same name by Wallace Shawn. I had actually thought while I was watching it that it would make a better play. I might have appreciated it more that way, but now that I've seen this version I don't know if I'd want to sit through something else even closely resembling it again. The characters don't have many layers, and we basically just get to go through their miserable day with them. Even the ending, in which the mood changes slightly, was significantly wanting.

Rating: -13

Dull, sad, uncomfortable, and discouraging, Marie and Bruce left a lot to be desired. Good performances? Yes, but the script and plot just didn't deliver much in the way of meaning. I don't think you could even make the case that this is what a lot of couples deal with. Unpleasant from beginning to end, all I was left with was a feeling of "eww..." and for me, that's never a reason to recommend a movie. So, unless this sounds right up your alley, (and I mean you, Eeyore...) then please don't bother.