Monday, January 3, 2011

A New Year

This week I've had the chance to watch The Social Network and Despicable Me.

Mark Zuckerburg, creator of Facebook is played by Jesse Eisenberg.  I watched this movie straight through, then watched it again with each commentary (director, then cast & crew). I've enjoyed Jesse Eisenberg's work over lookalike Michael Cera's since I first saw the two of them, and the fact that he's so open about his panic attacks that come on when filming big scenes, and the need to take anti-depressents, only makes me like him more. He came across as cocky as the character needed to be (Mark Zuckerberg was supposedly always thinking that he was better than everyone), and despite not knowing how to type or hack as well as the character demanded, he figured out ways to perform these tasks as needed for the film. The characters played by Justin Timberlake and Brenda Song were also so much better portrayed than I expected. Bringing the cockiness level down and becoming more than just a two-dimensional pretty face were two positive attributes that their acting brought to this film ("What's this?" "My inhaler" was a memorable bit). And I usually enjoy anything Rashida Jones is in (Freaks and Geeks, I Love You Man).

I also enjoyed learning more about some of David Fincher's thoughtful choices and the reasoning behind those choices. Choosing NIN's Trent Reznor as the composer instead of using less modern source music was a wise decision. Also, finding out that the wardrobe person used mostly shirts worn by the man himself when choosing what to put the actor in, and that there was a scene they had to change all printing to appear backwards, so the film could be run backwards to reverse the direction of running... fun details. I will watch this one again, just to remind myself what comes of being too sure of yourself, not considering the consequences: basically the follies of being young.

And then I put in Despicable Me. From the beginning, I could not concentrate on this film. I can imagine how seeing it in the theater, when there are fewer distractions, might make for a better viewing experience, but although I admired the smooth animation, the amusing situations and characters, I didn't care about the orphans, the villain, or Vector. Steve Carrell, Russell Brand and Jason Segel do perfectly adequate jobs as the main characters, but can't say much more. Was a bit of a yawn throughout, but yes, if you've got children under the age of 10 who aren't picky about what you put in front of them, go ahead and try this. Just don't expect any messages deeper than those of Monsters Inc.

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