Sunday, November 1, 2009

Movie Review - Recent DVD Viewings - Closer, Adventureland, Observe and Report

Closer - ***
Review:  So this is a movie that never intrigued me all that greatly when it came out, but I heard so much good stuff about it and I am a big enough fan of the actors in it to give it a go.  I will say I came away quite impressed.

This is a very well made, well written (almost too well written), well acted movie that is real, entertaining, if not flawed.  The movie centers around four people whose lives become interconnected through a series of events that start an epic love quadrangle that is more real than you would think. 

Through this storyline you get to see all the characters at their best, and their worst.  You see these people struggle with trying to find happiness and getting themselves to believe whatever they need to in order to convince themselves the love they feel is real.  The movie is a tragedy more than anything else as the characters realize by the end that ultimately, for these people, love isn't the only thing that matters, there is compromise that is a necessary part of love, even if that love is not the intense butterfly in the stomach feeling. 

The flaws of this movie amount to it being written to cleverly.  The characters have a slight sense of unbelievable-ness as they sling their witty dialogue at each other without even thinking.  Also, the movie jumps ahead in the story line, months or even years at a time and doesn't give the audience any clue and makes them figure it out for themselves.  While I appreciate the filmmaker thinking his audience is intelligent enough to figure it out, it can be confusing at first and takes a small bit away from the movie.

Adventureland - ***1/2

Review:  This is a movie I wasn't sure what to expect of, but I loved it.  It is a very dry comedy, and I love that about it.  It is not your typical summer college sex comedy.  Although the premise makes it seem like it would be, this movie is too real for that.

The movie centers around a boy who comes back from college after graduation, expecting to go to Europe before moving to New York for grad school.  However, his father losing his job (or is it taking a pay cut at his job, I can't remember) causes him to forgoe his trip to Europe and now he has to get a job and work for the summer.  The job he gets is at the theme park Adventureland.

Through this he meets a girl who he eventually falls in love with.  What transpires is the attempt at him to try win over this girl, who is involved with somebody else, secretly, and get the girl he's always wanted.

What makes this movie so great is how real it is.  The characters in the movie are very real and easy to identify with.  Everyone has their problems and their issues but ultimately, everybody is just trying to find their way in life and make themselves happy.  The lead actor Jesse Eisenberg, gives a great performance, pitch perfect for what was needed.  Kristen Stewart climbs out of her Twilight shadow and gives a great performance, one that makes you realize why the main character is so enamored with her.  A very entertaining, funny movie, definitely worth your time.

Ovserve and Report - **

Review:  Ummm....I am not really sure how to review this movie.  It is basically two different movies, the first half, which is what you would come to expect from Seth Rogan, and the second half, which is something....different.

The first half is very funny and a well done comedy.  Such is what we have come to expect about Seth Rogan.  The first half centers around a mall security guard who thinks he is more important and prominent than he actually is.  This is inherently funny and he is put in many situations that make it even more so after his mall is harassed by a flasher.

The second part of the movie is definitely not what you would expect.  What seemed to be a normal comedy turns into a very dark, at times gory, black comedy that really pushes the boundaries between comedy and just plain weird.  It would not be as bad if the whole movie was like this but since the first half is so well done it just goes to confuse the audience and takes away from enjoyment of the film overall.  It is worth a viewing, I am glad I saw it but also glad I didn't spend more money to see it in the theaters.

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