Category Archives: 2000s

Adventureland (2009)

 photo adventureland2_zpsba32efca.jpg photo 2_zps22a48e6e.pngAdventureland was not what I was expecting. I had been pretty sure it was a kids’ fantasy film. Instead, Adventureland is a coming–of–age film of a summer in 1987 where Jesse Eisenberg1 and Kristen Stewart get together while working in Adventureland, which is an amusement park. There are a lot of fun and not as fun people, they get high a lot and enjoy their summer, as much as you can do it with working a shitty job with long hours and no motivation.

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It Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This: Breaking Bad, season 1

Breaking Bad is an amazing series.

Breaking Bad is an Amazing series.

Breaking Bad deserves having its name written a lot and it deserves being Awesome and Amazing with capital letters. I didn’t believe it at first – it seemed messy and crude and dull when I first heard of it. Having seen the first season, I can say – yup, I was spot on, it’s messy and crude. And it’s dirty and intense and sad and powerful and creepy and all that works together better and more uniquely than I’ve ever seen in a TV series.

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Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

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I’m a bit late to the party with Slumdog Millionaire, huh?

I saw the film and read the book back in 2009, mind you, but today, my International English substitute teacher put us to watch it and. Hey. Do the same. Watch it again.1 It’s worth it.

Slumdog Millionaire is one of the most unique films I’ve ever seen – heartbreaking and, appalling and good. But most of all, it’s honest. It doesn’t try to deceive or cheat, it simply tells a story of a man, fast-tracked and breathless. Shocking at times.

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This was my first real look into India and I bet I was not the only one. Pictures tell more than words in this case, if the pictures move, all the better. The film covers a generation, and what a generation it was – India developing abruptly, enormously tall buildings rising where Jamal and Salim, the main character and his brother, spent their early childhood. And yet, on the other side, millions live without sewer. In that sense, Slumdog Millionaire was game changing.

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Compared to the novel, it’s one of these rare cases where a film does complete justice (or more) to the book. Actually, the book remains a supplement for the film. It would be incredibly hard to beat the film – and perhaps I now understand better why people were disappointed in Trance. Fun fact: I hadn’t even noticed it was Danny Boyle’s film2 before watching it this morning, but it striked me very similar in style this time merely by watching it. His signature, as the film itself, is unique and he makes a gripping tale.

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PS. I don’t know if I’m becoming cynical but I was really bothered by the love story. Again. I cannot seem to stand them in films at all anymore. Because I haven’t heard a single comment on how the love aspect was too much or too cheesy – and I felt both from the start.

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1 If you tell me you haven’t watched it, I don’t believe you.
2 and he won an Oscar for that. Huh. I have really come a long way from my humble beginnings as a film nerd.

FAW: Secret Window (2004)

I have Star Trek, The Internship and The Great Gatsby to review and after a month’s dry streak I have to admit that what actually got me back to blogging is a film nearly a decade old. It has Johnny Depp, though. So I guess it’s understandable.

FAW stands for Films About Writers. It’s a feature.

Last night I was at my mum’s couch, nearly asleep, and Secret Window started. I’ve never seen Johnny Depp as a writer in a film even though I know he’s done that at least thrice. It peaked my interest.

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The plot’s this: Johnny Depp1 portrays a writer, currently suffering from writer’s block, hiding away at a remote cabin. He’s got issues with his wife, having found her a cheater half a year earlier; with her current boyfriend who she was cheating  on him with; and with a creepy Mississippi farmer Shooter who’s accusing him of plagiarism. And then things get more interesting and a whole lot darker.

The actors are excellent and that’s not merely Johnny Depp’s radiating awesomeness. The characters are few: Mort (the writer); his almost-ex-wife; her boyfriend; Shooter; the sheriff; a private investigator Mort hired; a town citizen called Tom Greenleaf — but they all deliver and more. Since so much focus is on the characters, it helps the film a lot.

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Somewhere in the middle of the film2 it struck me that this story would fit into Stephen King’s works gloriously. And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Now I looked it up, and yep, apparently I can recognise my favourite author’s3 writing even when it’s in a film. Whether it’s the fact I’ve read so much of his writing or if it was the film, the biggest issue throughout the film is it being predictable – I figured out the twist way too soon into the film, as the hints to the twist are a bit too obvious.

Secret Window isn’t brilliant, I suppose. But it has everything it has to have which makes the film simple in a good way. And it gave me chills4 which is always a good sign. The main attraction is that I loathe commercials but lived through them all even though it was 2 am and I was dead tired – predictability and suspense are both there. And Johnny Depp makes a damn good writer. And it’s the perfect cure for your average writer’s block.

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1 I’ve said his name three times already, so what. You do get why, right?
2 during another commercial break. I realised why I don’t watch cable about eight times watching the film.
3 one of them – I couldn’t choose between Vonnegut and King.
4 I am extremely easily scared so that’s not exactly hard to do but still – it has that thrill you need to have in a psychological thriller.