I took Noah to Powell Hall tonight for their Sound of Music Sing-a-Long. They showed the movie complete with lyrics in the subtitles and everyone had a blast singing along. Before the movie started, they had a costume contest, so a lot of people dressed up as characters, including an adorable pair of little twin girls dressed as nuns (who should have won, in my opinion). We were instructed to hiss at the Baroness and boo at the Nazis, and they taught us some choreography to do during Do-Re-Mi. We’ve watched the movie before with Noah, and he likes some of the songs already, so he really enjoyed it. Good times.
Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl make a pretty good team in the new romantic comedy Killers (whose plot seems strikingly similar to the Cruise-Diaz vehicle Knight and Day that opens later this month — just sayin’), although I will say that the on-screen chemistry seemed to be lacking, when compared to Heigl’s previous pairings with the likes of Gerard Butler (The Ugly Truth) and Seth Rogen (Knocked Up), so I guess I’ll have to blame Kutcher for that.
As a comedy, the movie has its moments. Former Marine, and former Daily Show correspondent, Rob Riggle lights up the screen in a supporting role not unlike his scene-stealing cameo in last year’s The Hangover. And The Mustache That Wet A Thousand Panties makes an appearance, as Tom Selleck returns to the big screen with a solid supporting role as the over-protective father, deadpanning his disappointment with Kutcher as a son-in-law. Overall, this movie is formulaic, predictable, and a bit implausible in places, but still entertaining.
It looks like my prediction about Avatar is on track to come true, but the box office reports today reminded me just how pointless box office reports are. I already know the answer to this question, but why do these reports still use dollars instead of gross tickets sold? Hey James Cameron! Since you’re trying to revolutionize the movie industry with your work, how about doing something really revolutionary — how about you demand that your box office receipts be reported in numbers that actually mean something? Because, if you look at Titanic‘s box office take, it’s based on the cost of tickets in 1997 (about $4.50). Tickets on average today are about twice that much, so when Avatar‘s take exceeds that, it’ll be on half as many tickets. On the other hand, Titanic sold about 95 million tickets in 1997. That number still has meaning today. For example, the original Star Wars in 1977 sold over 160 million tickets in total. So if bragging rights are going to mean anything at all, everyone needs to be using the same standard of measure. Otherwise, just stop bombarding us with meaningless numbers!
I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that Avatar will soon be the biggest-grossing movie of all time — and even if it doesn’t, it probably deserves to be. Living up to most, if not all, of the hype surrounding it, the film is visually stunning, and the story is compelling, if a bit formulaic. Director James Cameron has spent literally decades developing this project, and it is obvious that this is the work of someone with great attention to detail. The technology behind the production is simply staggering, and is likely to change how movies are made for decades to come — not just the 3-D gimmickry, but the innovative motion capture techniques he has created. The CG graphics are impressive, but like any good movie, they support and enhance the story, they don’t detract from it.
Many have criticized the movie for being too political, as it draws obvious parallels between the war portrayed in the movie and the current war in Iraq. The anti-imperialist message is undeniable, of course, but the movie succeeds at delivering that message without coming across as preachy, which is not an easy task for any storyteller. Most notable for me is that the story is also surprisingly spiritual, invoking our own indigenous Native Americans in describing the people and cultures of the fictitious world of Pandora. That spirituality ultimately plays an active role in the story’s outcome, and is not just an afterthought.
Overall, Avatar is exquisitely made eye candy that is also emotionally satisfying. I would recommend it.
I don’t go to the movies much (there are three reasons for this), and even when I do, I rarely take the time to write reviews of them anymore (I have people who do that for me). But every now and then a movie comes along that I just have to comment on.
The Hangover is easily the funniest movie I’ve seen in a long time. Even funnier than Wedding Crashers, and that was pretty damn funny. The story is a bit derivative, but the comedy is fresh and well-written, and the raunch is kept to a minimum. It’s just constantly funny throughout the whole movie. Mike Tyson’s cameos are comedy gold (I heard he did his scenes in one take), and the rest of the cast is superb (especially Ed Helms). If you are looking for something to keep you laughing for two hours, this is it.
They never do explain where the chicken came from, however.