Thursday, January 25, 2007

Raising Helen and UltraViolet

Well, we didn't get to the more substantial picks--Hotel Rwanda and (so I understand?!) The Green Mile. Maybe next time 'round, as I feel I'm ready to see them both. But Tom also wants to see 'em and he's been too busy this week.

So instead, I rented a number of forgettables (sorry to say that about anyone's films, but I really don't believe that I'll remember these very well in the years to come without the aid of these notes).

Raising Helen--Romantic comedy starring Kate Hudson (I'm still not sure whether I like her or find her annoying, though she's likeable enough, I suppose) and the DJ guy from Northern Exposure whose name eludes me at the moment (he was also in My Big Fat Greek Wedding). Chris something--Corbett, perhaps. It was pleasant enough. It followed a fairly standard story arc, though I thought it took too long getting started/establishing her life before the catalyst/inciting incident. I can't say the idea of dating a Lutheran pastor holds great appeal to me, regardless of how trendy he is, but I guess it's a notion that has some appeal within the culture as it's evolving right now. And of course, it was pleasant and innocuous enough.

UltraViolet--neat visual effects; they've done it up so that it has a video-game, vector-based feel to it that's kind of cool, though ironic, in that game designers work so hard in video games to make them seem real, and here's a live-action flick that's voluntarily taking on that vector-y look. Neat premise of vampirism as a disease (originally created for a form of biological warfare gone awry).

It seems, though, as if Milla Jovovich is really getting typecast as post-apocalyptic tough chick in action flick type roles (the two Resident Evil films come to mind. I know there was some kind of epidemic involved there as well, though my memories of it are vague. Was that a Zombie-making one?). She works well in such roles because her features seem chiselled and honed, but she has this funny, slightly twitchy way of holding her mouth that makes her seem vulnerable despite the tough veneer. It works, IMO.

But, the real reason I like her as a screen presence, I think, is because of her role in the film Dummy in which Adrien Brody plays a wannabe ventriloquist. MJ plays Fangora--Fanny for short--this gangly, wacky and socially inept friend of his. She gives him all sorts of advice in order to forward his love life and--unfortunately for him, he follows it, with disastrous consequences. And yet the character of Fanny is so goofy and well-meaning that the viewer forgives her. That was also the first movie in which I really noticed how much work she's done with her accent. It's impressive.

At any rate, having seen her in that, pulling off humour so well (which I really do believe is one of the more difficult modes to do successfully--particularly when the character is deadpan and unaware of how funny she is), it does seem to me that she's somewhat wasted in these kickass chick flicks with the bared abdomen and the kaRAte-chop moves.

But perhaps she divides her time between those and indies like Dummy. One can only hope so.

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