Posts Tagged ‘film screening’

A Bakeoff Without Any Cookies

Last night Evan and I went to the Oscars Visual Effects Bakeoff, an open-to-the-public screening of the 7 contenders for the 5 VFX Oscar nominations. The Academy theater was packed — we had to wait in a line that wrapped around the building into the alley, though thankfully it moved pretty quickly.

The films on the lineup: Hellboy II, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Iron Man and Australia.

It was fun to see Hellboy II again, projected on the Academy’s giant screen. Focusing on the visual effects made me appreciate some of them even more, especially all the detail on the giant green Elemental monster.

The Mummy had a really impressive fight scene between terracotta soldiers and skeleton soldiers. Journey to the Center of the Earth I found a bit gimmicky, with its 3-D effects, which I understand are very technical and hard to do, but felt like they made me focus on the 3-D aspect instead of what was really going on. It was also sort of funny to see two Brendan Fraser flicks back to back.

Benjamin Button was really impressive — I had no idea that Brad Pitt played the character from start to finish and has his aged or “youthened” (the VFX team said they called the process “youthening”) face put on various actors’ bodies.

The Dark Knight was great — and it was the third time I’d seen it — and I forgot how awesome Iron Man was. That suit, the robots, the flying and the fighting were all really cool. I especially enjoyed how the suit came together when the robots put it on Tony.

Australia was a bit more puzzling because the effects were much more discreet. The film has a really beautiful look, and apparently a lot of that was done with set extensions — the VFX crew said that only one scene in the film didn’t have effects shots. It was just tough to tell where the reality ended and the effects began, which I guess was the point. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to check out a before and after of the shots.

We don’t get to vote or anything, but it was neat to be at least privy to part of the process. There were also short introductions and Q and A sessions along with each reel.

Weekly Reading: My First Magazine Piece

Well, as you may have been able to tell from my lack of blogging, it’s been a busy week. I’m still busily pumping out the celeb gossip, fashion and music stories over at Sugarscape (finding budding YouTube stars has become a new favorite passtime), I’ve also been busy in the evenings.

Monday I hung out with my friend Jess, who I’ve known since we went to summer camp together when we were 12. We went to a pub, then to Pacifico for a nice Mexican dinner — I really like their fajitas, and my experience was much better this time, going on a quiet Monday night than when we went on a Friday and had to wait for hours in the packed place for a table.

Tuesday, I got to meet up with Charlotte, one of my editors as Entrepreneur, who is actually responsible for this first story in the print magazine, “Talk to Me,” about Joe Badame and Martha de la Torre, who run the LA-area Spanish-language media empire, El Clasificado. Martha was a wonderful woman to talk to, and I only wish the article could have been 1500 words instead of 150. Sorry to digress. Tuesday, Charlotte and I met up at the Red Lion, then went to Imli, an Indian tapas place on Wardour Street, which was great. The only complaint there is that they don’t have one of my favorite Indian staples — naan. But the meal was flavorful, with lots of spicy and sweet notes, and eating tapas-style, it was fun to get to sample a good array of the inexpensive dishes on their menu.

Wednesday and Thursday night, I was at film screenings — Forgetting Sarah Marshall and What Happens in Vegas (which I’m not allowed to write about until the week the movie comes out). I know I didn’t really write about it on here, but last week, I also went to the 21 screening, which wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but didn’t have a very convincing story.

I also managed to meet up with the Londonist folk at a pub on Wednesday, though because of all my activities this week, which kept me out of the house until the late hours, I didn’t write any posts for them. I did also meet Gordon Butler from Fancyapint?, and he was happy to learn that I’d used his site just the day before.

Review: Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Wednesday night I went to a bloggers’ Forgetting Sarah Marshall screening. I loved The 40-Year-Old Virgin, quite liked Knocked Up, and think this is another win for Judd Apatow and crew. The movie got a lot of big laughs, a few cringes and had a pretty shocking amount of male nudity — apparently Jason Segel likes taking off his pants and doesn’t mind showing all his bits to the world.

The story’s premise is simple enough: guy gets dumped by his TV-star girlfriend and goes to Hawaii to try to get her off his mind. As fate would have it, the ex and her new beau are also vacationing at the same resort and all are too proud to leave. This recipe for awkward situations stands up quite well, and watching Jason Segel go from heartbroken slob to something closer to happiness as he makes new Island friends, meets a girl and tries to get over his ex is almost as sweet as it is funny.

Jonah Hill, Jack McBrayer and Paul Rudd all show up in funny supporting roles, but Russell Brand, the British comedian who I’m guessing most Americans, like myself, have never heard of, gives the standout performance. He’s smarmy and gross, yet intriguingly fun and likable. A little Jack Sparrow-esque, his too-cool, free-loving rock star character steals all the scenes he’s in, with plenty of exaggerated eye-rolling, hair flipping and suggestive singing and dancing.

The women don’t fare quite as well. I don’t know if it’s because I have typecast Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis as teens in my mind that they just don’t quite work as the adults they’re playing, or if it’s because though they have pretty big roles, they’re really secondary to the male characters. They don’t get as many laughs, and while they have some sincere moments, they seem more like caricatures of women than the real thing. Of course, all the characters in the comedy areĀ  stereotypical, so maybe I’m just being a bit oversensitive.

The film also takes some funny jabs at the Brits, has a Bubba Gump-like bartender who likes to list things like names of fish, and even includes a short but traumatic pig-slaughtering scene. And its gorgeous Hawaiian scenery, which is replete with sappy newlyweds to torture the main character, made me really excited for my trip there this summer.

I’ll probably be going back to the theater to see this again since Evan hasn’t seen it and I know he’ll love it. It’s definitely a movie to see in a theater full of people, whose laughs only add to the hilarious two-hour experience.

Thanks, Annie Mole, for inviting me along!