Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I See Blue People

Well, I saw AVATAR yesterday. For six bucks. And that included the glasses. Tuesdays at Showcase in Lowell is the day when the price is cut in the afternoon. Maybe all day, for all I know. Anyway, as I mentioned about 36 words ago, I saw AVATAR.

Well, I saw most of AVATAR. I kinda nodded off about sixteen times in the first hour and twenty minutes. I mean, the most exciting thing that happened in the first hour and twenty minutes was when I read on the plastic package that the glasses came in that it was not a good idea to use the glasses as sun glasses. That shook me up a bit, but I managed to hang in there.

Before the first hour and twenty minutes, though, the big screen kept telling me to put on my glasses and take off my glasses. Too friggin' much work for just going to the movies. But, dutifully, I did what they told me so that when Johnny Depp lunged at me in the trailer for DISNEY'S ALICE IN WONDERLAND I was taken slightly aback, which was Johnny's intention, I am sure. Then they had other trailers that were not in 3-D so the big screen told me to take my glasses off (being certain to not use them as sun glasses). I did. Then after a couple more trailers, the big screen told me to put my glasses back on, dammit, because SHREK 3-D, the Final...Whatever...was being trailered.

Thereafter, I was no longer asked to do anything with my glasses, though I was tempted to suggest to the big screen what it might do with them but I kept my mouth shut.

Anyway, first hour-twenty. Yawn. Sure, absolutely, it was visually stunning. Well, not stunning. Cute. Different.

But dark.

Those glasses make everything dark.

I guess that's why they tell you not to use them in the sun. Because the temptation is so great, because the glasses are DARK.

And they make everything on the big screen dark.

And when it's dark, what are you tempted to do?

Nod off! Correct!

Okay, I can't fool around with this anymore.

AVATAR is about these really, really bad Us People (meaning you and me) who are hell-bent on DESTROYING a very leafy planet because we (Us People) have already destroyed ours. Sigourney Weaver, who is director James Cameron's go-to guy now that Arnold is trying to stop the mud slides in California, has come up with this scientific hoohah thing in which human people roost and then cryo-boogly turn into the people of the planet the Us People are about to destroy. We are destroying it because...oh, I don't know. It just has to be done. Maybe it's oil. Or water. Or Count Chocula. Who cares? Us People want it. So Sigourney and the Lead Guy (no, I don't know who he is and I'm not gonna look him up), who is in a wheel chair, go into the googly box and turn into Blue People. (When he is a Blue Person, he no longer needs the wheel chair.) Once among the Blue People, and now that they are Blue People themselves, Sigourney and Lead Guy discover that the Blue People are very, very, very nice people. (Except the warriors, but they just get huffy every once and while and we know they're good people at heart, too.) And they realize that the Blue People are connected to their Leafy Green Planet in a Very Special Way. Like when they touch trees, they become part of the tree. Sigourney and Lead Guy realize that what Us People are doing is BAD. Very BAAAAD.

Plus, Lead Guy has fallen head over heels for the hottest Blue Girl on the Leafy Green Planet, and, dammit, if she believes she is part of a tree, she is part of a tree! He realizes this when he is enveloped by a floating snow flake, or something that looks like a floating snow flake, millions of which seem to float all over the place on the Leafy Green Planet and make the place a better place. It also fixed a boo boo he had on his arm or something. Us People would never, EVER, understand the floating snowflakes. Never!

Okay, I've gone on way too long with this. After about an hour and twenty-minutes, I woke up because the movie got louder. The music was telling me the movie was getting exciting. Thank God. I wouldn't have known.

And then it occurred to me that this movie was just like every other movie JC has ever made. Us People are Bad. Blue People Are Good. The Us People, led, of course, by a screaming lunatic of a Military Guy, are gonna bulldoze the Blue People to oblivion. The Blue People, see, know how to take care of their Leafy Green Planet. We blew our chance at taking care of our own planet, now we want to ruin theirs. So we bulldoze them and bomb them and shoot them while Lead Guy and Sigourney do their damnedest to fight back against Us People, to whom they used to belong. Eventually, Lead Guy figures out a way to get big scary birds to fly above the tanks and helicopters of the Us People and obliterate them with bows and arrows and lots of yelling. And Big Scary Lizards and Stuff.

So, what have we learned?

Us People are Bad. Blue People are Good. And if you want to save the planet, you have to bulldoze and bow and arrow the shit out of each other.

If this thing wins Best Picture, I'm going back to reading books.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Michael Jackson's personal physician was charged today with involuntary manslaughter in the singer's death. Over the years, I have not spent a lot of time considering Michael Jackson's work. I remember being astonished at the stunning performance of "Billy Jean," on Motown 25. And I have, of course, enjoyed a lot of his music. But as he burrowed himself into the consciousness of the supermarket news rack brain trust, I just didn't waste a lot of time thinking about him.

Then I watched THIS IS IT the other day.

Man. That would have been one hell of a show.

And man, that was a guy who has no business being dead.

The drug administered by the recently-hired private physician is dubbed "milk of amnesia."

Enough said.
Saw Jeff Bridges in CRAZY HEART yesterday. Yeah. He's damn good. The movie, not so much. And, truth be told, Jeff's work, while terrific, is not all that astounding, mainly because the character doesn't have a lot of depth or dimension, and where he goes in the movie is on a journey that has been filmed time and time and time again. Particularly, it was filmed in the eighties as TENDER MERCIES and it featured the brilliant performance of Robert Duvall, who is also in CRAZY HEART, and is also one of CRAZY HEART's producers. Duvall's story in TM is far more complicated, and Duvall's performance is memorable. This is not to take anything away from Bridges, who is pretty much always watchable anytime he's on screen in anything he does. I'm just sayin'. I'm just sayin' this movie didn't seem to be much of a challenge. And, I'm sorry, the pretty, plucky, young, intelligent Maggie Gyllenhaal character would never fall so quickly for the aging, boozed up singer Jeff brings to the screen. I mean, his cigarette breath alone would scare her away.

So, for my money, at least at this point, I opt for George Clooney in UP IN THE AIR as my Oscar pick for Best Actor. He won't win, but I think Clooney risked more, and found more in his character than was written for Bridges.
I want to see AVATAR, but I just don't know if I can deal with the glasses. However, I don't want to see it 2D. What a dilemma. And there's no way I luck into one of my famous 4:30 pm private viewings with this one.
I have a female friend who doesn't understand what all the hoopla is about Rose Byrne, who stars with Glenn Close on TV's DAMAGES. She doesn't see what I see in the actress. I chalk this up to the fact that my friend is, as noted, a female friend.
I watched Elia Kazan's PANIC IN THE STREETS the other night, streamed in on my Netflix account through the new HD DVR. Here is a movie about the possibility of the plague sweeping into 1950's New Orleans, directed by the man who brought ON THE WATERFRONT to the screen. Sheesh. Rarely have I seen such a ham-handed film in my life, with poor Richard Widmark, as the doctor nobody will listen to, screaming his medical head off from frame to frame, scaring his poor (probably now deaf) wife Barbara Bel Geddes in the process. WATERFRONT came after PANIC. Guess Elia learned something about the movies. Like they have microphones and cameras. Sheesh again.
Now that I'm totally enamored of stadium seating at the movies, any time I have to look upwards at a screen it just feels so wrong.
This is one of those days, clearly, when I am forcing myself to write a blog entry. Thank you for your patience.

Whoever you are.