Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hail Meryl! Doubt Screening with the Stars

My bf invited me to an industry screening of Doubt recently, held at the Academy of Motion Pictures. As a recovering Catholic, I was very interested in seeing the film - and ecstatic at the prospect of seeing the stars in person as they were doing a Q&A.

There was a long line to get in and I almost whipped out my rosary to pray that we'd get seats. I saw Sally Field waiting in line too. Stars - they're just like us!

Fortunately, we got seats and were ushered into the huge theater. There were giant Oscar statues on stage, and Oscar winners waiting in the wings. The movie was really good, if not quite Best Picture material (
see review). Meryl's performance did conjure up some scary memories of Our Lady of Good Counsel grade school for me (that's a shout out to you, Sr. Mary Michael). Philip Seymour Hoffman was a very convincing priest. Amy Adams was okay, if a bit generically Pollyanna-ish. Viola Davis was a revelation. Her scene with Meryl is like a steel cage match, and she steals it. I bet she'll get nominated for Best Supporting Actress for just that one scene.

The Q&A was really entertaining. Streep, Hoffman, Adams, Davis, and the writer/director John Patrick Shanley formed the panel. It was exciting to see them in person. They seemed very relaxed and joked a lot. Adams and Davis talked about how they campaigned hard for their roles. Adams said her former co-star Emily Blunt suggested she go for the role. Davis said she practiced her scene for 3 months before auditioning, and it definitely shows.

Shanley talked about the challenges involved in adapting his play for the screen. There are no children in the play, but they were added for the film. The world was fleshed out more, however the film still feels like a play because so much of it is face-to-face confrontations. The cast talked about the intense rehearsal process.
Issues of race and sexism are prominent in the movie and were discussed in the Q&A. The film gives the viewer a lot to ruminate on.

Streep is self-effacing and charming in person and still strikingly beautiful. Hoffman looked dissheveled but, well, I'd still do him. He was the only cast member who hung around after the Q&A to mingle with the mostly-washed masses. I wanted to approach and compliment his performance. Having had an uncle who was a priest, I think I'm a good judge of the performance, and he really had the mannerisms and persona down well. But I chickened out. What can I say - I don't have Sr. Aloysius' moxy.

Read More......

Acrostic Movie Review - Doubt

Doubting isn't
Acceptable in
Religious life, but sometimes it's hard to
Keep the faith when sinister suspicions arise and

Kids are potentially in danger. John Patrick Shanley
Nicely adapts his play for the screen, coaxing
Inspired performances from Streep, Hoffman, a scene-stealing Viola Davis.
Gut-wrenching drama ensues when Streep's tough nun
Has to confront Hoffman's affable priest
To determine if he's doing evil.

Of course, the movie
Fails to differentiate filmically from a play and gets a

Tad claustrophobic with so many tight,
Heated confrontations. Also, Meryl's Bronx accent is
Excessive. Must she always be acting in tongues?

Still, the film soars
On great performances and will be represented on Oscar night,
Up there with Batman. It's
Like a...

Read More......

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Joe the Plumber - Real Horrorshow

This past Thursday, Nerdia, C. Crumpet Swank, and myself attended a Lucio Fulci horror film marathon sponsored by The Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater. Fulci's Italian horror movies are cult classics. We skipped the first movie Zombie, but we loved the second film Gates of Hell. It was packed with laughs due to the bad dubbing/strange dialogue and packed with stomach-churning, squirm-inducing moments of indescribable gore (such as the girl who vomited up all her internal organs). But nothing could have prepared us for the sheer election-related horrors of the night's final film - The Beyond.

The plot of The Beyond involves a woman who inherits a dilapidated motel in Louisiana. Wouldn't you know it - there's a gateway to hell in the basement of the motel. Geez, there sure seem to be a lot of those gateways. The movie has some great gory moments but is most notable for its eerie references to the election. Firstly, there's a character named John McCabe. Next, when the basement is flooded, help is called. A truck arrives labeled "Joe's Plumbing." Joe investigates the bathroom flood only to find some sort of demon who kills him. Then folks in the cast wonder aloud, "Where did Joe the Plumber go?" Watch Joe's grisly demise on YouTube.

Finally, the film opens with a flashback to townsfolk pulling a suspected warlock out of Room 36. They take him to the basement, where they beat him with chains, crucify him, then throw acid on him. There are several shots in the film of the cursed room 36. John McCain was born in 1936. Coincidence? The stuff nightmares are made of? Let's hope our national nightmare ends on Tuesday. Go Barack the vote!

Read More......