Over the past week, I’ve watched a couple of DVDs.
The first was Let The Right One In, the Swedish vampire movie that’s essentially the antithesis of Twilight- these vampires definitely do not sparkle. The protagonist is Oskar, a 12 year old misfit boy who doesn’t seem to have a single friend until he meets Eli, a strange girl who lives in his apartment complex, who only appears at night, doesn’t seem to feel the cold, and smells funny. Yep, she’s a vampire. The movie proceeds slowly, with lingering shots of the cold winter landscape and limited dialogue, but when the action does occur, it is poignant and brutal. I thought the movie was fascinating, in particular by the relationship between Eli and Oskar, and it is brilliantly filmed, especially the swimming pool scene towards the end (holy crapola!!). It was refreshing to see such an unusual film: the main characters are children, and much of the movie is left up to the viewer’s interpretation- who is the old man that Eli lives with at the beginning? Does she really care for Oskar or is she using him? I couldn’t stop thinking about it afterwards. Be warned, though- it’s not a scary movie per se, but it is a dark one, and definitely not for the squeamish. Here's the New York Times review.
And now for something completely different:
Adventureland, set in Pennsylvania in 1987, is a sort of coming-of-age film about a recent college graduate who ends up back in his hometown working in an amusement park after his more grandiose post-graduation plans fall apart. It turns out to be quite the learning experience as the somewhat naïve James has never held a job before nor has he had any success in romantic relationships, but his Midwestern niceness (along with a big stash of joints) rapidly endears him to his new coworkers. I loved it! It’s sweet, funny, and definitely captures the good and bad parts of working at a shitty part-time job. Adventureland was written and directed by Greg Mottola of Superbad fame, but this film is more substance that slapstick, although there are a few similarities- the main character, portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg, reminds me of an older Michael Cera. Lastly, any movie that prominently features Bill from Freaks and Geeks is a winner in my book.