Saturday, April 24, 2010

Retros at Willow Creek

I've written before about the retro movies Willow Creek Theater shows every weekend (see Back to the Future, December 2009). Every weekend, they play a blast from the past, some good, some not so, but I like movies so I go to see most of them. In recent weeks, I've seen Beetle Juice, Forrest Gump, Batman, The Blues Brothers, Silence of the Lambs, The Never Ending Story, Fight Club, Terminator II, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Reservoir Dogs, in addition to the movies mentioned in the December post.

At first, most of the retro movies were in an inferior digital format but they are all film now. It makes a big difference. Some of the prints show their age but most are pretty good. The prints for Jurassic Park and Terminator II were pristine. This week's showing is Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which I will be skipping. I thought Temple of Doom was vastly inferior to Raiders of the Lost Ark and just kind of icky in its own right.

Next week, however, they are showing Jaws, the 1975 film that created the Summer blockbuster and redefined how the world views sharks, probably for the worse. The retro showings are Friday and Saturday nights at midnight and Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 AM. Being an old man who needs his sleep, I go to the early shows, usually Sunday. Willow Creek is easy to get to if you're in the Twin Cities metro, at the intersection of I-394 and highway 169. Onvoy employees already know this, as it's across the street from where we work. Check out future showtimes here.

Oh, a point of trivia, for what am I good for if not for trivia? The great white shark is the ocean's penultimate apex predator. What is the apex predator? The bluefin tuna. While the great white is big and voracious, it's a specialized eater, preferring easy to catch bite-sized prey like seals. It will leave most healthy aquatic animals alone. The bluefin, however, is faster and will eat anything, although mostly fish. It also hunts in packs and can grow to over 10 feet long and weigh 1000 lbs. Unfortunately, the bluefin is being over harvested and will likely be extinct in my lifetime. If you're ever offered bluefin sushi, just say no.

Clash of the Titans

Once again, concept beats execution.  Largely filled with computer generated imagery, Clash of the Titans tells an old story - a story that has stood the test of time, literally thousands of years old - and makes it boring.  It looks great but who really cares?

Six weeks earlier, I had seen Percy Jackson and the Olympians - The Lightning Thief. That movie told almost exactly the same story - Percy Jackson was a contemporary Perceus - and told it with some style.  Percy Jackson wasn't a great movie either, but its fun quotient was a bit higher (can you say Uma Thurman as Medusa?).  You can safely skip both Percy Jackson and Clash of the Titans for home viewing.

She's Out of My League

I saw She's Out of My League a month ago.  It's already in dollar theaters and will be out on DVD soon, no doubt.  I wanted to live in the first third of She's Out of My League.  It was a warm, funny, genuine romantic comedy with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and several running gags.

Then it turned blue, with cringeworthy body-function jokes.  That is the way of comedy movies these days and maybe I'm becoming an old fogie, but I can live without the American Pie-ization of comedies.  Nonetheless, the chemistry of the leads and the predictable path of the story was heartwarming, occasional grossness notwithstanding.

The ending brought the magic back and turned the experience positive once again.  I recommend She's Out of My League for home viewing, especially if you're not afraid to fast-forward or look away here and there.

The she in She's Out of My League is played by Alice Eve, daughter of British actor Trevor Eve, who also plays her father in the film.  She's perfect for the role, mostly because she's basically perfect, but her English accent peeks through once in a while.  I expect to see more of her in lead roles in the near future.

Alice's business partner and best friend is played by Krysten Ritter, who steals every scene she's in.  Krysten, with pale skin, big doe eyes and a potty mouth provides necessary humor at a time when the leads are off falling for each other.  Krysten came into my sphere with recurring roles in Veronica Mars and Gilmore Girls.  Lindsay Sloane has a thankless role as the guy's jealous ex.  She has to be anti-hot, but those of us who remember her as Sabrina the Teenage Witch's best friend or as Big Red in Bring It On know she was acting.  Acting quite a bit.