Red-Hot Resources

"Luck is not chance, it’s toil; fortune’s expensive smile is earned.”

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sunday Night at the Movies

I saw these movies on DVD this weekend, and I thought I'd pass along two enthusiastic recommendations.

First, there's one you can see with your wife/girlfriend, but probably not your mother ...

Film Recommendation #1: Love Actually

This 2003 film follows 8 couples and/or people who are sometimes looking for love, and sometimes on a collision course with it. Some of them are friends, and most are in the same room on one night for a school Christmas play, but that's not what this is about. This is about stories of love -- what drives, it, what it means to lose it, and what you'll do for it (hint: Anything!)

What a cast! Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Rowan Atkinson, Laura Linney, Keira Knightley, and an incredible performance by Bill Nighy. Actually, it's incredible performances all around. The stories are compelling and one is a real tear-jerker. Emma Thompson should have been nominated for a best supporting actress role for this one.

Warning: This film contains nudity, profanity and sexual situations. It doesn't fit the mold of a generic romantic comedy, which is what I thought I was going to see when my wife roped me into seeing it. I like romantic comedies, but this one "starred" Hugh Grant, and I figured I'd seen this movie (or versions of it) at least twice already, because Hugh is one of those actors who often makes the same film over again. Not this time! While his story is probably the most predictable of the movie, other stories in "Love Actually" have brilliant twists and turns.

My favorite character is the washed-up rock-and-roll idol played by Bill Nighy. He’s obviously seen it all, done it all, ridden the rocket of success on the way up and plumbed the depths of despair on the way down. The resolution of his story is very touching indeed.

Film Recommendation #2: Feast

This 2005 film carries the tagline: "They're Hungry. You're Dinner." This is movie about people trapped in a remote desert bar by hungry creatures who are literally clawing through the walls. Now you're probably thinking: "I've seen that film, too." But this movie is smart enough to know you have. Like "Scary Movie," it plays off your knowledge of the genre's cliches.

For example, when every new character is introduced, they get a tagline including a "name" (Hero. Bozo. Toughman) a fascinating fact and a life expectancy. Jason Mewes, the vocal half of movie comedy duo Jay and Silent Bob, plays himself(!) in the movie, and his life expectancy reads: "Has already far exceeded his life expectancy".

This should tell you a few things:

  1. This movie has inside jokes (Mewes' own life should be a Lifetime movie, including a drug-abusing mom and his own suicidal drug use)
  2. The movie has a wicked sense of humor -- and it gets much, MUCH more humorous.
  3. This movie knows the "rules" of horror.

The people who wrote (Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton) and directed (John Gulager) this movie LOVE the horror genre. They know what horror movie fans like. But they're also willing to break the rules to surprise us -- and to make us laugh.

They got the chance to make the movie as part of "Project Greenlight." I saw a few episodes of that TV show, produces by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, and the word is that Gulager was almost fired by some of the show’s other producers. But he brings some unique vision to this piece. His film angles may seem a bit distracting or too clever at times, but A) he had to hide the fact that he had no budget and B) he has a unique vision that brings it all home.

This movie is NOT for the squeamish. Blood splatters, vomit goes projectile, maggots are crawling … and THEN it gets gross! But if you have the stomach for this sort of film, this is the best horror movie I’ve seen since Sin City (I consider Sin City a horror film, you’re entitled to your own opinion).

Check out my new gold and energy blog at