A dad and his daughters, loving life in New York City

Friday, January 11

Winter Movies: Part 1

Twenty-oh-eight begins with stragglers from aught-seven. Here's the standard quick look...

The first half of I Am Legend is riveting, with Will Smith as the last man alive tearing through the stunningly-rendered abandoned streets of my beloved city, hunting and scavenging for food, tools and entertainments, accompanied as he goes by the last dog alive, the rest of humanity (and canine-anity?) dead for two years, the world trashed, sad, weedy. And then when we first get a glimpse of the undead, rabid, only-come-out-at-night zombies—apparently the only other "survivors" of the plague that wiped out everyone else—twitching in their nest in a blacked-out MePa warehouse? My God, I thought, now THIS is a fun movie. And then, for reasons I won't reveal, the movie's dynamic changes, Smith's ingenious, likable, exceedingly capable Dr. Robert Neville completely changes, all for the much worse, and my enthusiasm and admiration for the film died as swiftly and as terminally as… well, you can guess the simile here.

Debbie and I both loved The Kite Runner, the book, and so approached the movie with more than a little trepidation, especially after several viewings last fall of the bland, feel-good trailer. We were pleasantly surprised, then, by how much we liked director Marc Foster's faithful, even occasionally unsentimental, adaptation for the screen. Of course, Foster has to hurry a bit over several key plot points, and the story's intitial betrayal lacks the gut-busting pain I remember from the novel (though I admit the ending truly soars), but overall this is a satisfying, nicely-played, genuinely emotional drama. Not Top 10 material, but definitely worth a viewing, especially in this no-new-releases, early winter season.

Maybe we were just desperate for some on-screen frivolity to close out the "serious season", but Debbie and I both totally enjoyed P.S. I Love You, the Hilary Swank romantic comedy about a woman whose beloved husband sickens, dies, and then speaks to her from the "grave" in a series of letters, delivered posthumously, all directing her to do things that involve having fun, moving on with her life, finding her true self, etc.. No question, the basic plot mechanics were pretty ridiculous, but Swank turns on the charm (to go with her usual guts), the script is sharp, and the supporting cast, especially Lisa Kudrow and Harry Connick, Jr., steal nearly every scene they're in. If you're in the right mood, you can definitely have some fun—and some tears—with this one.

I knew Sweeney Todd was going to be gory; the Times did compare it to Saw, after all. But what I didn't realize was just how bleak, how classically tragic this story is, the lightest, cutest moment of the entire two hour spiral into hell coming from Helena Bonham Carter crushing cockroaches into her meat pies. The setting is Tim Burton's relentlessly gloomy 19th-century London—where, it seems, bad things happen to all people—the songs are terrific, the singers less so (no one embarrasses themselves, but no one brings down the house, either); Johnny Depp is perfectly cast as the haunted, doomed serial killer. Just don't go in expecting Hairspray.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

what even happened to Bo and Co? I'm tired of hearing about Debbie! Didn't this start out to be about a Dad and his adventures in New YOrk City with his daughters??

2:55 PM, January 14, 2008

Blogger Scott said...

Thanks for your comment, anonymous. Bo and Co are doing very well, thank you, and are of course involved in plenty of adventures with me, eating at La Rural and Despaña and ChikaLicious Puddin'; watching Persepolis and The Great Debaters, to note just a few subjects of recent posts.

Scoboco, of course, has really always been about "A dad, his daughters, and Debbie, loving life in New York City", and I tend to write about everything I do, whether solo, with my lovely daughters, or with my gorgeous girlfriend.

Anyway, I appreciate you taking the time to read Scoboco, and especially to comment. So, thanks again.

4:37 PM, January 14, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the answer. I read the latest escapade at La Rural, that's more like it and how DO you wolf down so much food. I read my blog quite often and must say I enjoy most of it. You're a fine writer.

8:13 PM, January 14, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

that would be I read YOUR blog quite often..

8:15 PM, January 14, 2008

Anonymous danny said...

i have to disagree with you on I Am Legend though. Don't you think it has to end that way? After two years of living alone by yourself... It seemed like the director was going in that direction because that scene when Will saw the manaquin in the wrong place in the city, the camera made it seem like it was moving.

I never go to the UWS, but that steak at La Rual looks ridiculous. oh man.. 20 dollars sounds like a deal.

10:59 PM, January 14, 2008


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