Do you ever walk out of a movie and feel like your perspective suddenly takes on traits of the film? As if, what you are seeing and doing is being shown through the lens of that specific director, writer, cinematographer, etc.? I do occasionally.
This week, that happened to me twice - though both are wildly different from each other. And both are quite wild in their own ways.
On Monday night, Erica was able to snag us a couple of seats at a screening for the upcoming film Scott Pilgrim vs The World (official release date is August 13th). I went into the film intrigued by the comic book feel of the trailer - though the last time that happened to me I ended up with the slow-mo fest and tragedy that was Watchmen. However, Edgar Wright (he who directed Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead previously) is no Zack Snyder. And I've never read the Scott Pilgrim comics.
The movie, about a young musician (Michael Cera) trying to date the (literal) girl of his dreams by defeating her seven evil exes, is hilarious and fun. The music: Beck, Broken Social Scene & co. put up some good stuff for this movie - I'm considering checking out the soundtrack for the Sex Bob-Omb songs (that's Scott Pilgrim's band). The writing: laugh-out-loud witticisms that had me doubled in my seat at times. The acting: as precisely over-the-top as I think it's supposed to be. Cera does his job in the lead role as Pilgrim's bass-playin', clumsily girl-crazy, slightly insecure character. The other actors are great as well - especially Ellen Wong's Knives Chau, Kieran Culkin as Pilgrim's gay roommate, Chris Evans, Jason Schwartzman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, etc. Oh, and great cameos! A well-cast movie, if you ask me.
And now to the directing... there's no mistaking Wright's original take on a comic-book film. But I would almost call it more of a video game film. The unending references to video games, comic books, music, and geek culture will satisfy every nerd out there. Others might feel confused and bombarded. Not to mention how much is going on on the screen at once - from the words "POW" popping out with each Pilgrim punch, to the quick-chop action shots, split screens, and a myriad of loud sounds simultaneously. They all add to the fun inherent in Pilgrim; it seems like it never stops - like I was on a ride. I also felt like I had ADD. However, I'm not sure some of the audience out there over a certain age will "get it" or have patience for such a set-up; I can see some people walking right out of the theater.
After the movie, Erica and I were totally in that "swish swish" cut angle 1 to 2, frittered, video game-inundated state. Moving fast, talking fast. Erica said she spotted "that guy from The Hangover who dates MK Olsen" and I replied, "Justin Bartha?" as we saw him a few feet in front of us on the escalator. Then we looked at each other once we confirmed it was him, high-fived, and said "1UP!" This film may have the very ability to turn anybody into a NERD. Fair warning.
That was Monday night.
Last night, Jesse and I caught the French film, Micmacs. The movie was released back in May in the US, but I had forgotten about it until this weekend. It's the first film in five years for director Jean Pierre Jeunet, who also helmed Delicatessen, The City of Lost Children, and Amelie. He's also one of Jesse's favourite directors, so I bought us some tickets at the last theater it was showing at in Manhattan.
If you've seen any of Jeunet's previous films, you know his vision is a bit saturated, kitschy, and almost "out of time." (I also think he may like the color green as much as director Alfonso Cuaron.) That said, I believe Micmacs is somewhat of a departure from his earlier works in its lightheartedness and modernity. The story is about a boy who loses his father to a landmine, and thirty years later, survives a bullet getting lodged in his brain as an innocent bystander. He then stumbles upon not only a motley crew of funny eccentrics, but the two armament companies responsible for said landmine and bullet. And thus begins a journey of vengeance for Bazil, the main character, against the warmonger CEOs of both companies.
It's sometimes strange to see the juxtaposition of regular Jeunet visuals like an old jalopy truck stuck in a traffic jam with sleek and modern BMWs. Strange, but interesting. As the rest of the movie is - there are many little machinations at work on the screen in any given frame, and I almost want to see it again just to fully realize all of them (similar to Pilgrim). One of my favourite parts was a wink at the characters in Delicatessen (PS that movie's on Netflix Instant Watch right now!).
After, Jesse and I walked out of the movie laughing, and down a tiny hallway to the restrooms. We stood between two open doors, obviously restrooms, and looked left, right, right left trying to figure out which was male and female. We leaned forward simultaneously, to read the writing on the doors left ajar - again, I felt like that little moment was straight out of Jeunet. Our eyes would be wide in confusion, and fall into a smile and chuckle when we figured it out.
It all seems so miniscule, but I like movies with a vision that extends beyond the screening. There's some sort of power in that kind of directing and cinematography. Even the acting, at times. Has a movie ever made you look at your world differently afterwards? Even for just a moment, a night, or a week? What movie?