Monday, August 24, 2009

Movie Weekend

I love going to the movies, always have and until I have a home theater room with the biggest possible wall sized screen; nothing will replace the whole experience of being in the movie theater. This weekend we saw three movies, I would have loved to have seen four but not sure that Ed wanted (or wants) to go see the new animated film by 宮崎 駿, Miyazaki Hayao called Ponyo (崖の上のポニョ, Gake no Ue no Ponyo).

Anyway, we saw:

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

OK, I had almost every GI Joe toy growing up. I also watched the cartoon. Being a young kid during the 80's was awesome. (Micronauts, Thundarr the Barbarian, Freakies cereal!) As far as I am concerned, the toys and the cartoons from that era are the best!

However, I have to say, even though there was a little cheesiness to it, I really enjoyed this movie. This movie is based off a toy/cartoon/comic book. It isn't like other comics that could be deep, or thought provoking. It was always mainly about action, cool weapons, good guys and bad guys, getting caught and then escaping. This movie is just that. A action movie from start to finish. Has enough of a storyline to make it from beginning to end, but is mainly about the action. It doesn't give you a lot of back story to the characters. You do get a couple flashbacks, just so you know who people are, and how they are connected. But this isn't really an origins movie. I think some people were expecting some kind of epic movie experience. This movie is not that! This is a popcorn/ summer action movie/ and a way to relive some childhood memories for those of us who grew up watching the cartoon, or playing with the toys.

I will admit though, although I did like the movie, some of the special effects were not that good. There were a few times during the movie where I saw something that just looked too fake, and I was like ... "that is just cheesy". But overall, it was a fun movie. Definitely not one I regret going to see.

Julie and Julia

I loved this movie and Meryl Streep certainly put in yet another amazing performance as Julia Child. When an actor plays a real-life character, I always hope they will capture the physical essence of the person, the tone of a particular voice and its speech patterns. A good actor can usually give us something that's good enough. But, this time, watching Meryl Streep as Julia Child as she stands at a table with her classmates at Le Cordon Bleu; as she sits down to dinner with her husband, Paul (Stanley Tucci), the two of them really enjoying each other and their food-goes beyond mere acting. Streep isn't playing Julia Child here, but something both more amzing and more truthful - she's playing my idea of Julia Child.

The performances by the leads and the many supporting roles are great - you can't help loving the characters portrayed. The biographic nature of the 'Juila' story combines nicely with the more present day 'Julie' storyline - leaving the viewer to root for Julie's cooking goal while simply falling in love with Meryl Streep's Julia Child. In both stories we are treated to their relationship with food, their husbands and the challenging worlds they inhabit.

I did not read the book by Julie Powell, and her blog still exists at:

but I did read the posthumous biography of Julia Child and loved it. If you are a fan of Julia Child or Meryl Streep or movies about food - go see this movie!


Because of Meryl Streep's height (5'6") several camera/set/costume tricks had to be employed to mimic Julia Child's height (6'2"). Countertops were lowered, Streep wore extra high heels, and forced perspective camera angles were used.

Both the Paris and Boston train terminal shots were done in the beautifully restored New Jersey Transit Hoboken Train Terminal waiting room.

Eric Powell's quote ("I love deadlines. I especially like the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by") was originally made by Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005). Eric explains this himself, immediately after delivering the line.

District 9

Now this was a movie I knew almost nothing about before I saw it - just that it was about aliens hidden in a ghetto in Johannesburg.

The movie was completely not what I expected and I ended up enjoying it.

It is best to go see this movie knowing as little as possible about it. The following movie trivia won't spoil your experience.


The leading actor/star, Sharlto Copley had not acted before and had no intention of pursuing an acting career. He stumbled into the leading role as Neill Blomkamp placed him on-camera during the short film.

All of the "prawns" in the film are CGI with the sole exception of the ones on the operating table in the medical lab.

The mutilated animal carcasses in the background of many scenes were real and with only a few exceptions, were already in the real slums and shacks used for the filming.

All the shacks in District 9 were actual shacks that exists in a section of Johannesburg which were to be evacuated and the residents moved to better government housing, paralleling the events in the film. Also paralleling, the residents had not actually been moved out before filming began. The only shack that was created solely for filming was Christopher Johnson's shack.

The idea of the prawns being obsessed with cat food came from two inspirations. In impoverished areas of Johannesburg, Neill Blomkamp would see people selling cheese poofs and other snack foods out of large 3-foot tall bags and wanted the aliens to have a similar cheap food. The decision to make them cat food came from one of the producers who used canned cat food to bait hooks when fishing for prawns in Vancouver.

Several Afrikaans curse words can be heard throughout the film, including 'doos' (which is a slang term for vagina) and vok/vokken (which means f**k/f**king). Also at some point, a sniper says "Kom na pappa", which translates to "Come to daddy".

Speaking of movies, I can't wait to see the new "Tetsuwan Atomu" or Astro Boy movie that is due out October 23, 2009!!

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