Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Goin' to Da Movies

I love movies, but I hate going to them. Costs are skyrocketing upwards ($9.50 for one adult ticket? Please, people, this is insane!) and the quality isn't going up at the same rate, to put it mildly. So naturally, I found myself more than a touch confused to discover that there are not only one, but two movies out now that I not only wanted to, but actually went out to see. So here are a few thoughts:

Howl's Moving Castle

I don't remember who I'm ripping off by saying this, but I feel kinda heretical saying this movie is merely pretty good. The plot meanders about uneasily, and without a great deal of speed, but it's so very pretty, and most of the voices are very good -- Billy Crystal in particular, failed spectacularly to offend with his portrayal of the fire demon Calcifer. I enjoy everything Miyazaki has ever done, but this is not his best work by a long shot. I strongly recommend reading Diana Wynne Jones' excellent book instead, and catching this one on video (assuming it's even still in theaters, which is unlikely by the time anybody reads this).

Mr & Mrs Smith

I like a lot of things Brad Pitt has been in, but I can't offhand think of a movie Angelina Jolie has appeared in that I really liked-- except maybe this one. It was smart, sassy, fun, and all around a ticket worth buying. You know the story from the trailers, I suspect-- wealthy suburban couple John and Jane Smith are slowly spiraling towards divorce when they each discover the other is a highly-paid assassin and start to kill each other, which naturally rekindles the ebbing spark in their marriage.

Hang on a second, I need to pause to assimilate the idea that I'm recommending Angelina Jolie over Hayao Miyazaki.

Okay, I'm over it. Anyway, there are a few relatively glaring continuity errors, but the movie itself moves so fast that unless you're incredibly anal like me, you'll hardly notice them-- heck, even *I* didn't notice all of them-- and some of them have rationalizations that aren't too big of a stretch to overlook. Most importantly, it's a movie where a lot of shit blows up. And by a lot, I mean that if this couple are having problems, you want to move to a nearby continent until it all blows over. Also, it doesn't wildly insult your intelligence, and the comic relief is almost always impeccably timed. I do wish they hadn't given away all of Eddie (Vince Vaughn)'s good lines in the trailers, but they were still funny in the movie, though less so than they should have been. It's probably the best summer movie I've seen in a long time.