*I’m going to pre-date this post, because Blogger lets me and because I completely intended to write and post this on Monday. And we all know that an ounce of intention is worth a pound of cure. Isn’t that how the saying goes?
This past weekend I spent a lot of time at the theatre. (I usually spell it “theatre” because 1. years of taking French classes got me in the habit of writing it that way, but mainly because of 2. it just looks snazzier.) On Friday night, I saw a free screening of 1408, the new horror flick based on a Stephen King short story. On Saturday, I went to a matinee of Wicked, the musical based on the book by Gregory Maguire. And on Sunday, I saw Ocean’s 13, the heist film based on what George Clooney and his pal Steven Soderbergh cook up.
The screening for 1408 marked the first free screening I went to where I was aware that members of the press were in attendance. I can’t say that I recognized anyone, mainly because I rarely see pictures of film critics. I just assume any reviewer or critic doesn’t publicize their image because they don’t want any crap from people associated with the industry they are reviewing/critiquing. There were people from Dimension Films at the screening as well, and while I’ve been to other screenings where studio employees were present, the vibe at this one was completely different: lots of ego-driven conversations flying around, lots of posturing and sucking-up, lots of pretentiousness. And that was just from me.
As for the movie itself, ehh. I was expecting something a bit more juicy, but it really felt like a rehash of The Shining, with the terror confined to one room. John Cusack plays the cynical, bitter writer who debunks ghostly legends. I always like watching him but it didn’t feel like that much of a stretch for him to play this role. Samuel L. Jackson dialed in his lines as the hotel manager who attempts to persuade the writer to not stay in Room 1408. I expected more ghastly apparitions and homicidal ghoulishness than I got from this movie – and this is coming from a woman that doesn’t really like horror films (aside from vampire flicks). I give 1408 a C+.
Joe’s Review: It was good but not up to the Joe Standard. [I'm not sure what the Joe Standard is, but I'm sure he'll tell me at some point.] Joe’s Grade: C+.
On Saturday I went to the Pantages in Hollywood for a matinee of Wicked. I’d never been to the Pantages before, so this was a great treat for me. When I was growing up in Washington D.C., Momcat and Pops took me to see several musicals: Annie, The King and I, Cats. I would come out of the theatre wanting to sing and dance all the way back to the car. After Saturday’s matinee, I noticed that the feeling hasn’t gone away one bit.
On Sunday I went to see Ocean’s 13 with Joe and two women from my Meetup movie group. I love a good heist or con-artist movie, and this time out Mr. Ocean and his crew didn’t disappoint me. The gang pulls a revenge job on casino owner Willy Bank (Al Pacino), who’s screwed over their pal Reuben (Elliot Gould) on a land deal in order to build a new casino, The Bank. It moves a bit fast in the beginning, and I had a hard time keeping up, but in the end it all comes together so beautifully. I give George Clooney a lot of credit for pulling together a great ensemble of actors where everyone seems to get their fair share of screen time. That credit may be undeserved, but dammit, I like him. He’s sexy and looks like he’d be the perfect host for a dinner party, providing great food, wine, and conversation.