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Jan 1

movie log: Eagle vs Shark (2007)

Posted on Thursday, January 1, 2009 in movies

Next up on the NYEve movie slate (and last, as it turns out; we only got 2 movies in over a 9-hour period) was Eagle vs Shark — a film from New Zealand directed by Taika Cohen and starring Loren Horsley and Jemaine Clement as a very odd couple indeed. (You might recognize Jemaine as being one half of Flight of the Conchords.) This had been on my want-to-see list for a while, and one of the attendees found the DVD at the Manchester Library (don’t forget the library when looking for DVDs!). The film opens with Lily (Loren Horsley) working in a fast-food burger joint and making sure the line at her register is cleared at just about one minute after noon. She has her eye on Jarrod (Jemaine Clement) who, it seems, comes in for a meal at that time every day. Lily learns of a party that Jarrod is hosting where the guests are to come dressed as animals. Crashing the party in a shark costume, she finds that the main event is a video game contest ultimately leading to a duel with the reigning champion Jarrod, who is in an eagle costume. And that’s how it begins.

Lily soon learns that Jarrod has quite a bit of baggage: family issues of death and envy, a father who is crippled emotionally to the point where he’s in a wheelchair, a fantasy of revenge against someone who picked on him in high school, and more.

I hate to overuse the word “quirky” but quirky is what this movie is. It features oddball dialog and relationships and has bits of stop-action and other animation melded into the film (with, as one of our viewers pointed out, actual relevance to the story). And it seems to me that its creators must have been fans of Napoleon Dynamite – not in the story but in some style elements.

All in all an excellent and very enjoyable romantic comedy. The leads play their parts to a T, with Loren Horsley a real winner who is fascinating to watch.

Jan 1

movie log: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

Posted on Thursday, January 1, 2009 in movies

We usually watch 2-3 movies as part of New Year’s Eve festivities here in geezerland. First up last night was Seven Brides for Seven Brothers directed by Stanley Donen, and starring Howard Keel, Russ Tamblyn, Jane Powell, Julie Newmar, and a host of others.

I’m a big fan of movie musicals and a long-time watcher of same, so I guess it’s kind of surprising that I hadn’t seen this before. And it didn’t disappoint; I’m sure I’ll be seeing this again some day.

It’s based on a story “The Sobbin’ Women” by Stephen Vincent Benet. Seven burly brothers live alone on a frontier farm/ranch in the US Pacific Northwest. The film opens with the oldest brother in town to fetch supplies and a wife. Somehow he manages to find one (a wife, Milly, played by Jane Powell), who is captivated by thoughts of an idyllic family life alone with her husband on his ranch. Arriving at the homestead she is rudely exposed to the existence of her new near-barbarian brothers-in-law, and to the fact that she’s expected to cook and clean and do other hard chores.

It’s not long before she’s trying to tame her new family. The brothers, inspired by the story of the Rape of the Sabine Women in a book that Milly brings (which they misstate as the “Sobbin’ Women”), decide to kidnap brides of their own. The plot unfolds with a lot of dancing and singing and fighting and attempted barn-raising.

All in all a very good movie musical, although it might not appeal to people who aren’t interested in older movies (pity on them). One distraction is the use of painted backgrounds, but one doesn’t need to let that get in the way of enjoying the film.