Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Review: My Sassy Girl

I wasn't very positive when I reviewed the trailer of My Sassy Girl, a remake of a South Korean romantic comedy. However, the movie pleasantly surprised me and it isn't as generic as the trailer makes it out to be.

Jesse Bradford plays Charlie Bellow, a nice, small town guy focused on college and his career. He rescues manic pixie dream girl Jordan (Elisha Cuthbert) from a collision with a subway, giving her room to insert herself into Charlie's life. Charlie reluctantly goes along with her crazy antics, and despite the bodily harm she causes him, he falls in love with her. But Jordan has a secret that will test the strength of his love for her.

I don't know why this movie went straight to DVD. I have seen far worse movies in theaters this year. One could argue the lack of star power. I will watch anything Jesse Bradford is in, but he isn't a household name. Elisha Cuthbert was a promising talent once upon a time, but hasn't lived up to her promise and hasn't been in a (relatively) successful movie since House of Wax in 2005. Both do a fine job here. Cuthbert is a bit off at times, but has enough charm for the part. Bradford is a relatable leading man and manages not to get overshadowed by Cuthbert's quirky role.

I've been contemplating if the character of Jordan could be defined as a 'manic pixie dream girl'. The term was coined by Nathan Rabin and he describes the character as existing "solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures." At first glance she is, but several other characteristics of the manic pixie dream girl state that she is a secondary character and she has a lack of inner life. We find out Jordan has a complex inner life and she's as much a leading character as Charlie is. Maybe the term 'manic depressive pixie dream girl' would be more appropriate.

That being said, My Sassy Girl isn't a generic romantic comedy. Though it has comedic elements, the heart of the movies lies in its dramatic storyline. I know nothing about the original version, so I cannot compare, but I do know that the dramatic part works here. If not for the drama, Cuthbert's character would barely be tolerable.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. I didn't think I would be so emotionally invested in Charlie and Jordan's romance that it would actually reduce me to tears, but congratulations My Sassy Girl, you did it. A 4/5.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

'Haunted' the Movie?

Variety is reporting that Brian Levy is optioning the rights to Chuck Palahniuk's novel 'Haunted', which Koen Mortier will adapt and direct. Well, good luck with that.

I've read 'Haunted', which is comprised of 23 shorts stories and one main story to tie them all together. How is one movie supposed to do the novel justice? I think it would work better as a mini series.

I hope Mortier will include Cassandra in the film. She was my favorite character and 'The Nightmare Box', one of the stories which featured her, was my favorite of the bunch. I actually don't care much for the stories that don't feature her. It will be interesting to see how they pull off 'Guts' though!

Megan Fox as Cassandra?

Personally, I'd rather see 'Survivor' finally hitting the big screen. I can't believe 'Choke' ended up getting made first!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Review: 28 Weeks Later

What an opening! I think Robert Carlyle running across the lush green grass chased by hordes of Infected is almost equally as impressive as Cillian Murphy's stroll through desolate London in 28 Days Later.

I liked the idea of a sequel to 28 Days Later and I think they made the right decision to not make it about Cillian's Jim and his cohorts. Though a part of me would like to know whatever happened to them, but I digress.

I was pleased with the choice of Robert Carlyle as the lead as he was truly phenomenal here. I was rooting for him! And then THAT happened. You know! THAT! And THIS! We are obviously venturing into spoiler territory here so consider yourself warned:

As Carlyle is presented as our main dude in the movie, I kinda expected him to last longer or even survive. Now I do sorta like this twist of turning him into an Infected early on in the movie as I didn't see it was coming (note: I haven't seen the trailer for this movie so I don't know if it gets spoiled). But, I sorta hate it too, cause I felt I had no one else to root for until Jeremy Renner was inserted with a personality. Carlyle was the heart of the movie.

Then THIS happens! After they killed off the only two characters in the movie I actually cared for, I lost interest. Rose Byrne had no personality, I keep forgetting Harold Perrineau is even in this and the kids.. I loathe the kids! Of course they go venturing out of the safe zone. Of course they are the only people to make it to the helicopter. Sigh.

And the ending. It felt like an after thought and IMDB tells me it is. So the infection has spread to Paris, leaving the possibility for a sequel, 28 Months Later, wide open. I prefer 28 Days Later's hopeful ending. And what's with the crashed heli? No bodies.. hmmm..

I gave the movie a lot of crap in this review, but I did like it. Probably as much as I did the original (I have some problems with that one too). It was shot well and the pacing was good. Bring on, 28 Months Later! A 4/5.