Sunday, June 15, 2008

are you there? it's me, again

i spent an embarrassingly large percentage of my weekend sitting in movie theatres. after work on friday, i went to see the happening. this was a really strange movie. i can't say i really enjoyed it, but i didn't dislike it either. it just left me with an odd feeling. i think that one thing it did do was tap into the feeling that there is something not quite right going on in the world at the moment. be it global warming, war, whatever... mark wahlberg was surely the bright spot in the film; i think he's a great actor, and there were several moments during the movie when he made me laugh out loud. zooey deschanel was really good as his wife (and i realized halfway through that she looked so familiar to me because she plays the sister in almost famous).

the basic premise is that something is going on that causes people to decide to kill themselves. it starts in central park and moves to philadelphia and, eventually, every town in the northeast. at first, the government says that it is some kind of chemical attack, and orders new york to be evacuated. mark wahlberg's character, eliot, lives in philadelphia - he takes his family and leaves the city on a train that ends up getting stranded in the middle of nowhere, and from here the movie becomes an escape story as eliot, his wife and his niece try to outrun "the happening."

here is where the plot holes in the movie started to distract me. while eliot and his family are wandering through a field in pennsylvania, they meet a soldier who says that everyone at his base has been affected by whatever is happening and has killed themselves. yet, despite knowing that that this mysterious illness causes suicide, the soldier does not get rid of his gun. so when he, predictably, comes down with the sickness, he has an easy way out.

this was also the last weekend of the seattle international film festival, and yesterday i went to see a documentary called accelerating america. it is about a school in providence, rhode island, that tries to take kids who are at risk of dropping out of school and accelerate them (i.e. have them complete 2 years worth of work in 1 year) through middle school so that they can, hopefully, be successful in high school. the idea is that a kid who's been held back a lot is not very likely to stay in high school until they are in their early 20s.

this morning, i went to see a canadian movie called the 5 senses. i was excited to see that because mary-louise parker, one of my favorite actresses, is in it. it was a good movie, although at times i thought that it had too many story lines going at once. but while i was in line, a lady came by who was giving out passes to see gus van sant's new movie on wednesday night for free. it sounds quite good so i'm pretty excited: "acclaimed filmmaker gus van sant teams with the incomparable sean penn (!!!) and a supurb supporting cast including emile hirsch (!) to tell the inspiring, thrilling and deeply emotional true story of harvey milk, openly gay and one of the world's most visionary and charismatic leaders who was assassinated in 1978." lady, you had me at sean penn. i love him.

pearl jam countdown: 12 days!!

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