Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Night Movie Review 3!

On Fridays it is traditional (this is the third time) for the Fruitless Pursuits staff to post their mini movie reviews of any old movie that was made whenever. This time we've only got three movies. "WHAT A DAMN OUTRAGE!" you bellow. I hear you, pal!

While the FP staff have been watching a lot of things this week: their weight, the skies, their 'p's and 'q's, paint dry; it appears that they have not had time to watch many movies! The lousy bums! Shiftless deadbeats!

 And the three movies that were watched? Well, I'll let you judge for yourself:

And if that banner isn't the most unappealing thing you've ever seen in your life, then please join our skeleton staff of avid, dedicated, movie-watchers, who have suffered cruel indignities to put your entertainment ahead of their own...

J. Tagmire:

Monster Camp (2007)
I know I'm a few years late to Monster Camp.. but now that I know my in-laws Netflix password, I was able to finally watch it. I remember seeing trailers online a few years ago, followed by the wonderfully done poster and I thought that it would be the greatest documentary ever. The concept is great (Live Action Role Playing!) and the people involved are perfect (Live Action Role Players!)… so why wasn't I as into it as I hoped and dreamed I would be?

(Spoilers ahead) I guess it just comes down to storytelling. For a subject matter known for it's stories, this one was kind of a letdown. The film starts in the heyday of NERO, a Seattle-based LARP group, and shows it's fall (due to attendance and internal issues). Then it slightly rises again in the end. Overall, the film just feels very anticlimactic. Even a sad story (which this kind of becomes?) can take the viewer on a journey.

Monster Camp has gotten some really good feedback and awards, so it might just be me. I watched it over a few days and I did keep coming  back to finish it, but I was still bummed when it was over. If you're interested in LARPing without having to leave your couch, it's worth a watch. But you'll have to forget you ever saw the poster, because it's a massive tease to how great this film could have been.


Waitress (2007)
It's always nice to be pleasantly surprised when watching a movie. I thought this would just be a by-the-numbers romantic comedy, and a nice movie to zone out to on a Sunday evening but instead it was a sharp, quirky tale that had me totally invested in the characters from the get-go. Keri Russell plays Jenna, a waitress in a pie diner with a dropkick husband. She finds herself accidentally pregnant by said dropkick which puts a significant dent in her plans to use the money she'd been saving up to GTFO. She occupies herself herself by baking bitchin' pies and hooking up with her studly OB/GYN while she figures out what the hell to do.

Firstly. Studly OB/GYN. Nathan Fillion. My goodness. He was so endearingly awkward that I was squealing and coo-ing like a tween over Justin Bieber. I don't want to take away from Keri Russell's performance by saying he was the highlight, know. He was pretty good. The supporting characters, including fellow waitresses Becky & Dawn, and token grumpy diner patron Old Joe, are absolutely wonderful, and even though you kind of know how the movie is going to end, you're cheering on all these characters because you CARE.

A lovely little tale with some zing in the delivery. Definitely recommended.


Jane Eyre (2011)
In this Golden Age of cinema, most of the films I see these days are 4% character development and 96% screaming, punching and explosions. So it is an incredibly rare occasion that I will pay to see a Gothic love-story based on a literary classic. However, it was ladies' choice (first time in seven years) AND I had studied and enjoyed the book during my first year at university, so Jane Eyre - you're all right with me!

Now if you're unfamiliar with the story, don't be fooled into thinking that this is a light romantic period piece like Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility. Jane Eyre at times is some pretty dark, twisted, spooky shit where all manner of terrible things happen to the tortured protagonists. Things start off bad, and get worse, and then really get worse, and then totally suck, and then are sort of better, and then wind-up pretty shitty if you actually stop and think about it.

That said, I was genuinely entertained by the film, and it's a solid adaptation of the text - although I do think that the supernatural elements were downplayed. The film's real strength is in its brilliant performances: Mia Wasikowska is both sharp and vulnerable, and still kickin' ass (fass?) Michael Magneto Fassbender is a surly yet passionate bastardface who may have, for a moment, made me a wee bit gay.

If you're just not disposed to period films, or literature, or English isn't your first language (i.e. you're American) then you probably won't be swayed by this. But if you do see it, make sure you stick around until after the credits to see a bonus scene where Nick Fury recruits Jane Eyre into the Avengers initiative.

And Suzanne also saw Jane Eyre! Here's her take:

Jane Eyre felt SO odd to sit and watch in a cinema. Mostly because it’s been a really long time since I’ve seen a movie that isn’t all boobs and explosions, so I was sort of expecting to be a little bit bored. I’d also never read the book (yeah, I KNOW, back off) so I only had a very vague notion of what it was about which went sort of like this: Girl who’s little and ugly gets cast off by everyone cos no one likes her. This isn’t much of a premise on it’s own. I saw it for two reasons: because I really like Wuthering Heights (I lump my Bronte’s together) and I am susceptible to Michael sharpen-a-knife-on-my-jawline Fassbender.

And rather surprisingly? I really liked it! It’s not chronological – you see Jane pretty wrecked at the beginning of the movie and suddenly you really need to know how the Christ she got there – and common sense tells you it’s not going to be a fun trek, so you hang in there, marveling at the sheer douchebaggery of pretty much everyone around her and hoping against hope it’ll pan out. Because that bit I wasn’t sure about. The Bronte’s don’t have a huge predilection for happy endings so I legitimately had no idea how everything was going to work out.

I’m only seen Mia in Alice which pretty much sucked, although she appeared to do the best she could with little to do but be a Johnny Depp offsider. This really was great casting, though. She looks right, and that so unbelievably important in period pieces. And she’s obviously a pretty girl but can still talk of herself being plain and small and not make the audience snort in disbelief. She’s also a really great physical actor – she spends so many scenes not saying a word, but you can read everything on her face. She’s quality. Good work, team.

And lets face it, Fassbender only had to turn up. He did fine. No one was expecting much from him and I don’t feel like he overly expended himself, but he looked awesome, was an authentic cock when the situation required and looked like an utter doofus in a straw hat. Good work, Fass.

So ultimately – it IS good. I don’t think you needed to read the book to follow, though it does make me want to read the book now. It’s very finely crafted and subtle and a nice addition to the BBC Film stable.


  1. haha sorry I was gonna send a movei review this morning. Forgot about the time difference. I'll save it for next week :P

  2. I always think I should see Waitress. It strikes me as a pretty guaranteed like.

  3. Monster Camp was on TV a few months ago, and I watched it expecting to have my opinion completely changed about LARP-ers. Unfortunately, it reinforced my opinion. I did essentially enjoy it, but I really found the whole thing quite DEPRESSING.