Monday, July 20, 2009
1. I finally saw The Hangover, the surprise comedy hit of the summer. And oh how I laughed. Four guys head to Vegas for a bachelor party, and when they wake up, one of them is missing and the other three don't remember a thing, so they're faced with the task of figuring out what they did the night before and finding their friend, who just so happens to be the groom. Oh, and there's a tiger and a baby in their hotel suite. The morning footage is spot on- they all look like a blistering hangover feels. Yes, it's ridiculous, but also really entertaining- I think the actors and the writers deserve credit for creating three characters who are realistic and likable in their own way: the handsome, charismatic Phil (Bradley Cooper), the misfit weirdo brother of the bride, Alan (Zach Galifianakis), and the uptight dentist Stu, played by Ed Helms whom you might recognize as Andy from The Office. They were all great but it was the Alan character who killed me with the funny.
2. I also watched I Am Legend, starring Will Smith as Robert Neville, an Army virologist who one of the only survivors of a mutated virus that turned almost everyone else into violent, zombie-like creatures. For some reason, I always enjoy these end-of-days type films and books, like The Stand, The Road, and 28 Days Later. The biggest flaw to I Am Legend is that it's very similar to 28 Days Later but not nearly as good. The scenes of Will Smith roaming through a depopulated New York City with only his dog and some mannequins to keep him company were poignant, and I did like the sciency stuff, but I felt like the movie lacked a certain depth- plot points that could have been interesting (the creatures starting to evolve, the survivor colony, etc.) were alluded to but never developed. I gotta say, though, in terms of choosing a pet, if the category is "what type of animal would make the best companion following an apocalyptic event" then definitely go with a dog. Will Smith gave a fine performance, but it was the German shepherd Samantha who stole the show. Another plus to I Am Legend is that it is very fast-paced and clocks in at a concise 101 minutes (with The Godfather serving as a notable exception.) If you're only going to see one pseudo-zombie post-apocalyptic flick, definitely make it 28 Days Later, but if you like that sort of genre, I Am Legend is a decent choice.