Winter Break is at an end. They stiffed me this year. The usual 4 week reprieve was shortened to a meager three. I think this is because we started a week later than usual this past semester but I'd much rather have the 4th week of winter over the 17th week of Summer. I'm excited nonetheless.
Few things... I've taken advantage of my ability to hermit it out this break and nearly fulfilled my reading quota of 5 books. I read all three Stieg Larsson Millenium books, Roger Kahn's The Boys of Summer, I continued my trek through the treacherous badlands of Ernest Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon, and began Joan Didion's Play it as it Lays. That was before I came down with a bad bit of something or another - food poisoning or a parasite or a stomach flu or a benign tumor or whatever it may be - and decommissioned myself for a few days. There was one morning where I had delusions where I couldn't get a grasp of who I was... it was surreal, I felt like I assume insane schizophrenics feel. I was jumping between the minds of characters I had been exposed to during the week in books and movies - inspectors, journalists, ghost writers - it was awfully unsettling so I put my imagination on a leash for a few days.
Here are the movies I've watched since 2011 began.
Rumble in the Bronx - 6/10
A nice blend of cheese and adrenaline. It's so over-the-top and silly, with funny dubbed voices and outrageous stunts (like dropping a truck full of inflatable rubber balls from a 5 story parking structure). I miss movies like this, where the awe factor of the movie makers doing ridiculous stuff made the experience. Similar sequences with CGI just aren't the same. I want to feel like that stuntman was legitimately at risk. There's no danger in computers animation.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Swedish) - 7/10
Lacking in some places, inspired and transcendent in others. It's a pretty good adaptation considering the book they were working with was a 600 page behemoth. The guy who plays Mikael Blomkvist is awfully stale. He didn't have much of a personality. I enjoyed spotting places I remembered from Stockholm and practicing my Swedish.
World's Greatest Dad - 8/10
I was surprised how good this was. It's iconic in my mind, haunting me still. It's certainly not what you'd expect, considering the way it was marketed and the fact that it's a 2000's Robin Williams movie (i.e. usually bad). Surprisingly dark, excellent black comedy, awesome Krist Novoselic cameo. The little shit from Spy Kids has a good role in this.
Zombieland - 7/10
Loads of fun. You can tell the actors had a good time putting it together. I appreciate a movie that doesn't take itself too seriously and experiments with itself like this one did.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - 4/10
This movie is a waste of time. There's absolutely no point to it - its lessons (and boy, are there a lot of them) are weak, the characters are uninspiring, and you don't feel any sort of connection to anything. Hugely overrated. It's basically Forrest Gump without anything delightful.
The Ghost Writer - 7/10
Plenty of flaws but riveting enough to hold you in, with some good twists and a hell of an ending. It was distracting though because it's a Roman Polanski film set in Martha's Vineyard, and the fact that I knew they weren't anywhere near Martha's Vineyard took me out of the movie. Unique phenomenon.
Kick-Ass - 8/10
Really liked this. The insertion of some epic music from Sunshine and 28 Days Later, two of my top 10 movies of all time, lifted some scenes toward over-the-top emotional triumph.
on tap - Big Fish, SLC Punk, The Illusionist (2010)