Yes, we've once again managed to see three more movies in a real theater, not on cable or DVD. What can I say? It's hot and buggy, the wonderful Austin Film Society treated us to a couple of previews, and I can't resist Seth Rogen's voice.
As stated a few weeks ago, I'm no critic - just a movie fan who likes to talk about them. My children are adults so I no longer worry about ratings. Foreign films, bad language, interesting sex, nudity, inhaling, subtitles and endless conversations won't keep me from seeing a film that looks good, but excessive violence and lame dialogue might do it.
A few years ago The 40 Year Old Virgin was pretty raunchy, and pretty funny, had lots of interesting things going on around the edges, yet was somehow sweet and life-affirming. The movie was directed by Judd Apatow and it featured Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell and a charismatic young guy named Seth Rogen. Once I read that Knocked Up was also directed by Judd Apatow and starred Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd, I wanted to see it. So we did. It was raunchy, way too full of potheads, very funny, had lots of interesting things going on around the edges, and it was ultimately sweet and life-affirming. When the DVD comes out I'll probably see it again.
2 DAYS IN PARIS
Movie number two was 2 Days in Paris - written and directed by Julie Delpy. I couldn't find downloadable wallpaper for 2 Days in Paris, so the poster has Julie with Ethan Hawke in the Richard Linklater film Before Sunrise. She and Ethan were also in Linklater's Before Sunset, and in his Waking Life - did you see any of these?
Delpy has made a very entertaining movie about the relationship between a quirky Parisian-to-New York woman, played by herself, and a neurotic American man played by Adam Goldberg. It's been interesting to watch him evolve from one of Linklater's scruffy Dazed and Confused high school kids into a lead actor in this movie.
Julie Delpy's movie parents are played by her very real parents, who are actors in France but have different occupations here. The humor comes from the conversations, the interplay of personalities, stereotypes both French and American, the language problems and the collision of American standards with Continental attitudes, in both sex and cuisine. There is artistic nudity, and given a French woman at the helm, the nudity deals less with the female body than with the male. There are memorable scenes in taxis and train stations and markets.
The Austin Film Society hosted movie number three, which opens tomorrow. Self Medicated has won a score of film festival awards in the last year, but independent films can win prizes without ever landing a spot on a marqee. It's having a limited run in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Phoenix, Boston, Seattle, Portland, Denver, San Diego, San Francisco and Indianapolis.
From the title you can guess we're going into addiction territory - set this time in Las Vegas with trips to an adolescent substance abuse hospital. The story is intense and emotional with a surprising amount of humor stirred in. The lead character reminds me a little of Clint Eastwood back when he was Rowdy Yates- those eyes, those cheekbones, athleticism, an impression of intelligence and a quality of stillness in the acting. Like Clint Eastwood the beauty has brains - twenty-something Monty Lapica not only stars in the film but is also the writer and director. Diane Venora plays his pill-popping mother and you'll probably recognize others in the excellent supporting cast.
Philo thought the cinematography by Denis Maloney was outstanding and I found Anthony Marinelli's score quite compelling. There were some parts of the story that strained belief, but the movie is an impressive debut which deserves to be seen by a larger audience. I'd like to thank the Austin Film Society for letting us see it.
BLUE PLANET RUN ~ ALMOST DONE
While we've been watching fine movies in a cool theater, Mary Chervenak and her clean water team have almost completed their circuit of the globe. I wrote about Mary and the Blue Planet Run at the beginning of July. Since then Mary has run across Europe, Russia, Mongolia, China, and Japan, and traversed the width of the US to New York State. Mary's parents live in the Corning area so she brought the team there for an overnight stay. They're now heading in the direction of Washington DC, where there will be some kind of public event on the 31st. Here's a link to some photos taken earlier this week.
Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend, and if you see any movies, let me know!