Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Bee Charmer Review: Morning Glory

Over the weekend my husband and I made a trip to what is quickly becoming our go-to theatre, the AMC Courthouse 8, to catch the new Rachel McAdams romantic comedy - Morning Glory.

Morning Glory, also starring Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, and Jeff Goldblum, is a delightful, tasteful, light-hearted "rags to riches" comedy with a few ups and downs (but mostly, ups!).

Movie Tagline (if it were up to me): Prepare to embrace your inner nerd!

Rachel McAdams plays Becky; the slightly nerdy, seriously perky, over-achieving producer who is desperate to reach her goal: Executive Producer of the Today Show! I know, seems like kind of a lofty goal, but also seems like kind of a disappointing one too! I mean, it doesn't get much quirkier than morning "news" programs (if we can really call them that). And throughout the film, we are not alone in this feeling - nearly every character has trouble taking Becky and her dream seriously. Even her mother begs her to give it up - expressing the utter embarrassment she suffers as a result of her 30-something daughter's ambitions.

From a character perspective, I really enjoyed watching McAdams in this role. She is the standard "girl next door" actress (see her in the Time Traveler's Wife, Wedding Crashers, and of course, The Notebook) and she played Becky with a natural ease. At first Becky is disheveled and almost panicky, but as the film progresses, so does she. Even the nuance of her ragged hair is transformed to a stylish curled coiffure.

Of course, despite all that, we still find ourselves cheering Becky on and hoping she will make it to her own personal grand finale. (Don't worry, I'm not going to spoil it for you).

Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford lend their serious acting chops to this romp - the former more in a comedic tone akin to her performance in The First Wives Club - the latter in a markedly more serious role. Mind you, Ford manages to be amusing, but in a very "I'm Harrison Ford and I always maintain an air of dignity" sort of way.

Because this was one of the better romantic comedies I've seen, I will hold back from giving you too much detail, but I will give you one of the best scenes. If you've ever wondered if the "Today Show" or "Good Morning America" actually managed to get those large crowds of people outside in the plaza (even on really cold days), the fictional producers of "Day Break" have it covered - cut to a very small crowd ( 3-5 people tops) filmed just within the parameters of the camera! It may be nearly non-existent in real life, but to the average TV viewer the effect is somewhat different!

In the hope you will run out see this one, I will end this commentary with one final thought. Instead of the overly gratuitous love scenes that dominate the box office these days, Morning Glory steers clear; choosing instead taste and creativity. Sure, they give us enough to know where our heroine's love-life stands, but spare us the unimaginative details. If only other films could follow this lead...

Morning Glory is a fun-filled romantic comedy the whole family can enjoy.

The Bee Charmer Review Rating: B+

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Bee Charmer Review: Inception

Hi everyone!

I know, I know, it's been quite a while since I've written. My sincere apologies for the delay - things have been a bit (more) chaotic than usual around here and suffice it to say, I haven't made it to the theatre recently... that is, until last night!

AND I am very happy to say, the return was a good one. My husband just returned from a stressful weekend in Richmond so we decided to treat ourselves to the University Mall Theatre in Fairfax, VA. University Mall is one of those cozy independent "Mom and Pop" cinemas that show only slightly out-dated flicks at a very inexpensive ticket price (just 3 dollars each!).

Last night's pick: the Leonardo DiCaprio- helmed sci/fi-fantasy, Inception. This one had been on my list for some time and was worth the wait! Much to our surprise, the theatre was packed (I'd say a very good sign for the longevity of the film.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Marion Cotillard, and Tom Beringer, Inception is the story of a team of theives who steel information, secret information, sometimes information the subject is unaware they even know, from the subject's dreams. Sounds relatively simple right? All you have to do is hook yourself up to a machine, take a sedative, and poof! you are sharing in the unconcious dream of another. Of course, as with all good stories there is always a complication: enter, Leonardo DiCaprio's character, Cobb, and his homocidal wife, Mal (played by Marion Cotillard)- or is it just a projection of his wife?

Although I rarely comment on a film's director (well, aside from the Coen Brothers and Quentin Tarantino), I think in this case it is worth mentioning. Inception was directed by Christopher Nolan, the genious behind the revised adaptations of Batman (Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) and such mind-bending films as Memento, and therefore, it stands to reason, this film embodies top-notch direction. Nolan may be on the fast-track to becoming one of my favorite directors.

The other day I picked up my husband's copy of Forbes magazine and came across a quote which really sums it up:

"I have a foolproof device for judging whether a picture is good or bad. If my fanny squirms, it's bad. If my fanny doesn't squirm, it's good."

- Harry Cohn, former American president and production director of Columbia Pictures.

I can say, for the entirety of the film my fanny did not squirm, not once. I felt glued to my seat, eyes squarely focused on the sites and sounds of the screen, and my mind completing a series of gymanastics in an attempt to follow the incredibly detailed and well, almost entirely original idea.

It should be noted, however, that some similarities (intentional or unintentional) do exist. Off the top of my head, as I was watching Cobb and his dream-altering team navigate various levels in the unconcious mind of their target, the films Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and What Dreams May Come came to my mind. (Insert shameless plug here, if you liked Inception, might recommend the former two).

Inception is recommended for fans of Christopher Nolan and those interested in the exploring the possibilities that exist in the human mind. Strap yourself in for one mind-expanding journey!

The Bee Charmer Review: A