Over the past few weeks, I’ve been fortunate to see a bunch of movies that I had been particularly wanting to see. It’s not always easy to find the time to go to the movies — particularly in the summer, when for me, the outdoors beckon. But somehow, I’ve seen four in the past two weeks, partaking in a few of my favorite moviegoing pastimes along the way.
Moon – A couple of Saturdays ago, after a walk with friends, I decided to see this at the Somerville Theatre. Just $7, and with my Brown School Discount Card, I was able to snag a free small popcorn. Score.
The premise is, in the not-so-distant future, a lunar miner is nearing the end of a three-year solo contract when strange things begin happening. Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell, the miner in question, and he is always a treat. The movie provoked some good thoughts both about accepting the reality with which you are presented, and subsequently subverting that reality. Kevin Spacey was a fun turn as Gerty, the deadpan robot who knows more than we think but is ultimately charged with helping Sam. There are a few troubling implausibilities or unlikelihoods in some of the bigger-picture elements of the plot (specifically, the corporate actions and motivations at play), but if you focus on it as a study of one man’s reaction to uniquely challenging circumstances, it’s a compelling hour and a half.
(500) Days of Summer – My husband and I ventured downtown for what we hoped would be a 2-for-1 double feature. Yes, I confess, we are occasional theatre hoppers. (The key is to hit the matinees — less staffing — and, in the case of the big downtown multiplex, don’t see one of the big new releases that will isolate you in one of the two large downstairs theatres and dash your hopping hopes.) We are also unabashed food and drink smugglers (though Rick did get some soft pretzels between “(500) Days” and our second feature). Now you know.
So, “(500) Days.” Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a hopeless romantic and Zooey Deschanel is a cynic about love, and the film recounts their year-plus relationship. You are warned at the beginning that it is not a love story, but rather a story about love. Still, you can’t help but get hooked on the two of them, rooting for them to make it work. What happens is not entirely unpredictable or even that special, but the way the movie is told — jumping back and forth between various calendar pages of their relationship and inserting whimsical devices such as dance numbers and animation — enhances the story without diluting it under a deluge of pointless effects. You also get a feel for these characters as people, not as caricatures. (Except for Tom’s brief period of unhygenic despair during a break in their relationship — it reminded me painfully of a similar period for Owen Wilson’s character in “Wedding Crashers,” and it seemed wholly unbelievable.) Overall, though, a very fun film.
The Hangover – Yes, this is the one we snuck into, and I am sort of glad we did not pay to see this. While I had been intrigued by the hype about this sleeper hit depicting the misadventures of a group of guys hitting Vegas for a bachelor party, after a while it began to feel like a pile-on. The movie had its moments, and I really enjoyed Zach Galifanakis as the tagalong misfit brother-in-law, but movies like this upset the balance of empathy and patience I bring to any movie or TV show. After a while, on behalf of the characters, I can only take so much violence and failure, and only so much time waiting for the plot to unfold. I like things to progress and evolve, not just see more crazy things happen one after the other. The end of the movie, actually, was refreshing enough to almost redeem the preceding hour and a half of aimless capers. Almost. Not sad I saw it, but sure glad I didn’t pay much — or anything, really.
Adam – I’ve always been a fan of seeing movies by myself, and over the past year, the Kendall Square Cinema has become a top solo moviegoing destination for me. Not only because they play great indie flicks, but because its slightly out-of-the-way location draws me out of the Davis Square circuit, for which I am grateful.
When I saw the preview for “Adam” before another movie at the Kendall a month or so ago, I immediately knew I wanted to see it. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to learn it came out this past weekend. In “Adam,” the title character is a charming, handsome young man who happens to have Asperger’s. Shortly after the death of his father, who helped him negotiate a very overwhelming world, he strikes up a relationship with a woman who lives in his building. The film follows their process of trying to better understand each other — and their own messed-up lives.
Maybe I was just in an emotional mood when I saw it, but this movie really touched me. I thought it was exceptionally well-acted — the main characters’ emotions and motivations were believable and accessible. I couldn’t help but draw parallels to “Say Anything,” and even “(500) Days of Summer,” in a good way. If you’re looking for a compelling, affecting, cute film that is more a story about love than it is a love story — I highly recommend “Adam.”
Next on my list is “Paper Heart,” the faux-documentary with Michael Cera and Charlene Yi, which will either be awesome or awful. We shall see. Soon, I shall again be Kendall-bound.
As an aside… why on earth doesn’t iMDB have a good mobile version of its website, or perhaps an app? I can’t count how many times I have been out with friends and someone asks, “Who was in that movie…” or “What’s the movie that so-and-so was in…” A quality mobile version of iMDB is a highly-desired accessory to any group activity. A couple of people have independently released apps or web front-ends, but nothing has been officially released by iMDB. A grave oversight, if you ask me.