Sometimes You Need to Watch Depressing Shit then Watch People Get Ripped in Half by Sharks!: 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close', 'Beginners' and 'Shark Night 3D' Reviews

Directed by Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours, The Reader) I must admit I was really looking forward to this film as I am a HUGE Billy Elliot fan. However, the lengthy tale (2hrs and 9mins) of one families experience on 9/11 or as the boy in the film refers to 'the worst day' didn't really grab me until the second hour.  The introduction to this family, Sandra Bullock, Tom Hanks and introducing Thomas Horn as Oscar was pretty jarring and felt a little all over the place. The film  does however do a great job establishing the special relationship that the boy and his father have.  Oscar, who I believe has aspergers  has trouble interacting with people and Hanks' character is constantly trying to get him to interact with others. Unfortunately, it takes the father's death to get the boy to do this.

One days the boy gathers enough courage to go into his fathers' closet which still looks exactly same as before his death.  While snooping around for something to connect him to his father, he ends up knocking down a vase that contains a key in an envelope labeled simply, Black.

What ensues is a hilarious scene of the boy looking up over 100 people with the last name Black in the phone book that he thinks this key could belong to and in the end somehow be able to make sense of his father's death for him and give him some closure.

Once the boy meets an old man in the second part of the film who takes this journey around NYC with him is when things really begin to pick up.  There interactions together are fantastic!  The acting in the film is tremendous and is really what pulls you in.  The boy is quippy and can make you love him and hate him at the same time.

In addition to the wonderful acting, the film is beautifully shot.  There are sweeping landscape shots and great angles used in the families apartment that really draw you, emotionally, into the scene.  Despite all of this however, the film fell a little short of my expectations. This is definitely a recommended rental.  I've tried to steer clear of 9/11 movies but this one is more about needed to have a connection with someone rather than just that one specific horrible and sad day.  This is really shown in the relationship between Sandra and Thomas as they need each other more than ever now that the one person who connected them is gone.

Overall, I'll give this film a C+. Lastly, I'll say this film was a unique experience for me as it really pulled me back into that time, that one day which is something I haven't really experienced. And, on a lighter note, I thought it was hilarious how much this young looked like the boy from Billy Elliot and I kept waiting for him to do some ballet!

So in keeping with this depressing movie theme, I recently rented The Beginners starring Ewan McGregor.  I manly rented this film which, I had honestly forgotten all about honestly, to watch Christopher Plummer's performance, since he's nominated for Best Supporting Actor at this years' Oscars.   Although Plummer was fantastic as a 75 year old man who comes out after his wife's death it was really McGregor who shined in this film for me.  Seeing him portray a quirky artist who cares too much and has experienced so must lost made a real connection with me.

The journey that McGregor take together is hilarious, passionate and moving.  It is hard to imagine this sort of relationship where you've known someone your whole life, but never REALLY knew them.  It's like meeting them all over again which, is hard enough but having that person be your own father must be ever harder.

Throughout the film we watch McGregor struggle with love as well.  His relationship with Mélanie Laurent takes so many twist and turn that at times makes you want to jump with joy then while others make you want to sit and cry and let it all out until your eyes experience a drought and you have nothing else left.

I loved SO much about this film and you feel the emotions pouring out onto the screen due to Writer/Director  Mike Mills' similar experience to the films' content. This film was pretty close to perfection for me but at times felt a little too artsy for my taste.  All in all this was a pretty great movie watching experience that I really recommend! I give this film a B+.

Alright, so I've saved the BEST for last! So last night I watched Shark Night 3D.  Now this is a film that I REALLY wanted to see in theaters simply because it looked like one of those stupid fun movies that would be the perfect theater going experience, especially with the 3D element.  And even though I'm sucker for those teen horror flick ( I've watched the Scream trilogies close to 50 time I'm sure!) this just didn't do it for me!

The film started off great, with the typically introduction to our cast of College kids getting ready to go party for the weekend at a lake house.  There's some witty banter and of course TONS of hormones racing and sexual tension.  But once at the Lake house the pacing of the film just feels so off!

We get introduced to a cast of "rednecks' who are quickly at odds with the College kids invading for the weekend.  This instantly reminded of Tucker and Dale vs. Evil  which is an extremely well done spoof of these types of movies.   After this encounter things get even weirder.

Now, I won't ruin all of the fun deaths' but of course a minority is the first to go! I'll just say there are definitely some missing limbs involved.  The deaths are elaborate and silly and make you wonder, "Why the fuck are these sharks in the lake in the first place?!"

I give this film a C+ and end by saying, you certainly have to be in the right mood to watch this film.  I recommend getting a small group together and many, MANY drinks and you'll have a blast laughing your ass off at this. To watch this any other way would be biting off more than can chew!

**And PLEASE watch the credits if you rent, for a sweet music video!!!