Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Movie Marathon: Buried

Hollywood films come in plethora of genres, romantic comedy, teenage romantic comedy, comedy, romance, drama, thriller, horror, action and so on. But when it comes to movies, I only have two distinctions, cerebral vs. brainless-fun movies. I watch the latter type of movies like "Easy A", when I just want a good entertainer that does not require too much thinking or deep mental provocation. The former type, on the other hand, includes movies that have a visceral effect on me. In the recent past, movies like "127 Hours", and "Toy Story 3" really moved me both intellectually and emotionally.

"Buried" classified as a thriller is neither a cerebral nor a brainless-fun movie. It is a movie that never really makes a case for itself. The story-line holds a lot of promise, but the movie sadly never takes off. "Buried" is about an American truck driver who is buried alive inside a coffin in Iraq, with nothing but a blackberry. He is held for ransom by Iraqi insurgents, who ask him to make a plea video and call his supervisors back in Washington for five million dollars. He uses the phone to call his family, FBI, and the private trucking company he works for. But, he is either put on hold or gets the answering machine.

The movie is somewhat about the politics and immorality of the Iraq War. It is somewhat about the value of human life. It is somewhat about the bureaucracy of American corporations and how they do not give a rat's ass about the lives being lost in Iraq. "Buried" touches upon a lot of themes but does not fully grab onto one theme to make a connection with the audience. Ryan Reynolds plays the lead role. I don't know if it was his poor acting or the shallow script but I did not care about his fate in the movie. I did not care whether he would be able to arrange for five million dollars from the grave, or whether he would get to talk to his family. Even though, as an audience I was not able to bond with the character, I was also not utterly bored. I watched the movie waiting for something to happen.

This movie is based on a good idea, but fails in delivery because of the poor script. The most interesting point the movie makes is that even though the protagonist is able to get a good network connection from six feet under, he still struggles to get help.

p.s. I want to know who the network provider was!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Movie Marathon: Easy A

"Easy A" is a romantic comedy starring Emma Stone, which is loosely based on Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter. The novel is about an adulterous woman, Hester Prynne, whose actions are publicly condemned by her Puritan society, and the same man who is an equal partner in her sin. The movie is a smart comedy about a generation that is greatly linked through texting and other social networking websites.

I recently read an article in the NY Times regarding the demise of emailing. Our generation prefers to communicate through texting or instant messaging. I remember when I was a teenager my friends and I preferred to communicate through MSN messaging, or emails. Then Facebook came along, and we started writing on each other's walls. We commented on oodles of pictures that our friends posted. However, things changed a couple of years ago, when people realized that information on social networking sites such as Facebook is not very private, and in fact very public. The shift happened, instead of sharing our pictures with everyone on our friends list we became more discreet. And, instead of writing on each other's walls, we started private messaging each other.

The way we communicate has changed a lot in the last 15 years. My husband and I prefer to either text or "talk" to each other on gtalk. We both have android phones which make keeping in touch and sharing quick updates on gtalk much easier. My major concern about texting is that kids are not using proper grammar and/or spellings. In the world of spell check, abbreviated syntax and 140 characters long sentences, the art of beautiful composition is at abysmal loss.

What "Easy A" shows that no matter what the preferred medium of communication is, gossip travels fast. And it is no picnic to be a teenager! The other interesting theme the movie touches upon is that high school kids do not read the books they are taught in English class. They either rent the film versions of the books, or rely upon SparkNotes. The books on the high school reading list seem dated to the students, but as the movie shows, they are far more relevant than they appear to be. In the past, myriad of classics have been turned into teenage romantic comedies. The list entails, Emma ("Clueless"), Romeo and Juliet ("Romeo + Juliet"), Taming of the Shrew ("10 Things I Hate About You"), Othello ("O"), Twelfth Night ("She's the Man"), and so on.

Emma Stone is wonderful in the movie. If you are looking for a fun and yet not a dumb movie, do check this one out. I will be posting more reviews throughout this week, as I have some time off until the next semester starts. My husband and I have a rather ambitious list of movies we want to finish watching during the holidays.

Disclaimer: For the sake of my husband's street-cred I should mention that I watched this movie without him.