We spent G’s birthday weekend ensconced in the King Edward Hotel (we are seriously considering taking up permanent residence there) and had a huge, if gaudy, suite. It was a very relaxing way to spend three days after so much craziness out in Vancouver. Room service was great!
2) the view from our suite; 3) the suite livingroom
6) more of the suite; 7) the start of our caviar course at this year’s Oscar Night condo crawl – we made blinis, and served with caviar, chopped egg, shallots, sour cream horseradish and chopped capers (and didn’t G do a fabulous job plating these!) … sadly, my dumb camera thereupon died so that’s it for pictures folks
And speaking of Oscars, wasn’t the show this year dreadful! And speaking of dreadful, onto some movie reviews:
Where to start? With the fact this movie is apparently a vehicle to prove Ben Affleck has the power to turn gay women (in particular Jennifer Lopez who stars as Ricki) straight? With the fact this movie is apparently a vehicle for Jennifer Lopez to show off her outstanding yoga skills while simultaneously speaking raunchy lines about being a lesbian? With the fact, perhaps, that this movie apparently believes it has even one iota of interesting storyline to share with us? Nah, how about we just start and end with the rating noting just how embarrassing this Martin Brest directed stinker of a movie is. With a nod to Justin Bartha who stars as the mentally challenged lad, Brian, and does a good job, there’s nothing here to warrant anything but my rating of 0 out of 10. Avoid.
Where the Wild Things Are
Based on Maurice Sendak’s classic illustrated picture book, director Spike Jonze partners with screenwriter David Eggers to give Sendak’s word-sparse book some meat. When lonely 9-year-old Max (Max Records) heads out from his home after a tiff with his mother (Catherine Keener) he sails into the fabled world of the wild things and becomes their king. But with kingship comes great responsibility and Max soon realizes having control is not what it’s cracked up to be. Where the Wild Things Are works exceptionally well on the visual level – the look and feel Jonze creates, opting to use life-sized puppets in lieu of CGI, is breathtaking. But Sendak’s slim tome works better with fewer words. The Max that emerges on screen is not the Max I remember as my father read the story to me. He is wilder and meaner, but perhaps that is Jonze point and we are meant to lose the innocence of childhood when we interact with the world of real life where the wild things lurk. My rating for capturing the fulsome imagined world I remember as a child, 7 out of 10.
The Boys Are Back
Clive Owen stars as Joe Warr, an Australian sports reporter and father coming to terms with the tragic death of his second wife, and the realities that come with being a suddenly single father to his 6-year-old Artie (Nicholas McAnulty) and his teenage son Harry (George MacKay) who moves from the dreary olde England to Australia to live with his father. While treacly movies like this are a dime a dozen, and while there’s certainly nothing new here – with the confused father taking to drink; the grieving grandmother trying to replace her daughter by interfering in the lads lives; the rush of scenes to male bond and the inevitable final act where everyone makes up – The Boys Are Back is saved by Owen’s solid acting and director Scott Hicks’ fine camera work. It’s all mildly entertaining if you can get past the aggravation you feel wanting to slap the kids senseless when they get whiny. My rating 6 out of 10.
This is an alien action movie with a decidedly different angle. We humans have corralled the aliens – whom we call “Prawns” – into apartheid-like slums outside Johannesburg as their wondrous mothership seems to have lost its get-up-and-go. Stranded and abandoned for 20 years, the government of the day decides to evict the Prawns and contracts out the task to uber-evil Multi-National United, under the initially hapless leadership of Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley) who just happens to be married to the boss’s daughter. When Wikus is accidentally sprayed with a Prawn aerosol in the eviction, he soon starts morphing into a Prawn himself and that’s when the fun begins. Written and directed by Neill Blomkamp, from this point forward, District 9 plays like a Terminator movie with about a third the bravado and double the excitement. District 9 is a decidedly different alien flick with great CGI moments and a plot both quirky and believable enough to work. My rating 8 out of 10.
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
This silliness is the latest output from Matthew McConaughey, who just seems to have forgotten: 1) how to act, and 2) land himself in a good film. Frankly, I’m at a loss where to even begin to rate this blatantly unfunny rip off of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. McConaughey stars as Connor Mead, a superstar photographer cum womanizer. On the eve of his brother Paul’s (Breckin Meyer) wedding to bridezilla, Connor is visited by three former girlfriend ghosts who make him realize he had the hots for Jenny (an underused Jennifer Garner) all along. Even Michael Douglas stops by looking for a quick pay cheque playing Uncle Wayne, a sort of Hugh Hefener character that starts Connor on his path to ill repute. With little comedy and even less romance this is a ghost of a film from the get go and gets my rating of 3 out of 10.