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REVIEW: (500) Days of Summer

August 22, 2014 Leave a comment
(500) Days of SummerDirected by: Marc Webb
Produced by: Mason Novick, Jessica Tuchinsky, Mark Waters, Steven J. Wolfe, Scott G. Hyman
Written by: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Edited by: Alan Edward Bell
Cinematography by: Eric Steelberg
Music by: Mychael Danna, Rob Simonsen
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Chloe Moretz, Matthew Gray Gubler, Clark Gregg, Patricia Belcher, Rachel Boston, Minka Kelly, Maile Flanagan, Yvette Nicole Brown, Richard McGonagle
Year: 2009

 

“The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Except you Jenny Beckman. Bitch.”

The opening lines to the movie – unspoken, but probably the loudest statement this film makes – sets the tone for the remainder of this quasi-romantic comedy. Reportedly inspired by a real relationship experienced by screenwriter Scott Neustadter, (500) Days of Summer is clear right from the start (heck, even from its title) that this is not a story about everlasting love, but rather a season in passing. In fact, as if that point weren’t clear enough, yes, the girl at the center of the film is, in fact, named Summer. She’s a pretty girl who floats into the life of Tom, our film’s leading man, who is immediately smitten by Summer when she is introduced to everyone at work as the boss’ new assistant at the greeting card company Tom works for (another canny element playing with the theme of cheap, temporary sentiments). Summer is, as I said before, very pretty, seems quite nice, and she shares the same taste in music as Tom, even going so far as to make the first move when she notices this coincidence. Naturally, the two decide to hang out together. And, also naturally, there’s a big misunderstanding about what all this means. Where have you heard that before?

(Minor spoilers ahead.) Read more…

THEATRICAL REVIEW: The Fault in Our Stars

June 29, 2014 1 comment
The Fault in Our StarsDirected by: Josh Boone
Produced by: Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen
Written by: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Webter (screenplay)
Edited by: Robb Sullivan
Cinematography by: Ben Richardson
Music by: Mike Mogis, Nate Walcott
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Willem Dafoe, Lotte Verbeek, Mike Birbiglia
Based on the novel by John Green
Year: 2014

 

I hadn’t ever heard of the book this movie is based on before a couple months ago when I had a chance encounter with this film’s trailer in the theatre. Filled with lovely platitudes, cutesy dialogue, attractive teenagers going through extraordinary circumstances guaranteed to wrench away tears from your eyes – in this case, a girl who has been suffering the effects of her cancer diagnosis years prior and yet falling in love with the perfect guy who loves her just the way she is – The Fault in Our Stars looked exactly like the seemingly endless adaptations of Nicholas Sparks dreck Hollywood seems to like to churn out and that audiences eat up. I poked fun at it, made fun of the lead character’s name (Hazel Grace), the ridiculous predictability of the love story, the very punchable-looking romantic boyfriend character, the very casting of Shailene Woodley (who hasn’t ever been bad, but is a bankable big star among teenage girls)… It looked, quite frankly, like exploitative shit, and I wasn’t going to have any of it. And then the reviews came out. Read more…

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