Friday, April 11, 2008

Smart People - Jason in Hollywood's movie review...

Smart People movie posterIt's Friday and that means it's new movie day.

One of those new films is 'Smart People' starring Dennis Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker and Ellen Page. I made use of A.M.Cinema at the AMC Burbank 16, which means you get the best ticket price for shows before noon. So for only $6 (just £3 whole pounds), I got to see this new movie release.

Obviously this was after doing the walk of shame from our temporary abode i.e. a half hour walk through Burbank to the cinema, where as you know nobody walks.

But back to the film.

I'd describe it as a slow burning, wry black comedy. It's the story of a widowed college Professor, Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid, Vantage Point), who is apathetic about his job, his family and his life in general. His one motivation seems to be to get his book published, but there's little joy there and he keeps getting rejections from book publishers.

His budding poet son barely registers on his radar (and to be honest doesn't get much of a part to play in this film).

His daughter, played by the wonderful Ellen Page (of Juno and X-men: Last Stand fame - she played Kitty Pryde for the uninitiated), is the snarky Vanessa, who has assumed her dead mother's matriarchal position in the family, cooking and cleaning, and generally having become many years older than her 17 years. She's also extremely intelligent, like her dad, but is missing out on the simple things in life, like fun and friends.

Everything changes when Lawrence's adopted brother, Chuck (played by Thomas Hayden Church - he was the 'Sandman' in Spider-man 3 and 'Jack' in the California-tastic Sideways), shows up looking for a hand-out or a place to crash.

After an Accident of his own making, Lawrence ends up in the E.R. (enter Sarah Jessica Parker as his doctor love interest, who just happens to be an ex-student) and his driving licence gets taken away and he needs a driver for 6 month. Chuck to the rescue....kind of.

I've got to say, that Sarah Jessica Parker is a bit of a misery at times and I'm not sure if that's because of her, or the character she's playing.
Burbank Bus & Train station, local highlight on the way to the cinema
But there are enough laugh out loud one-liners (the audience watching with me thought so anyway), mainly from Chuck and Vanessa, and smile inducing moments (Chuck's butt cheeks spring to mind), plus an OK story of by-the-numbers redemption and reinvigoration of Quaid's stuffy English Professor, that it was well worth my $6 (plus another $8.25 for a small Cherry Coke and popcorn - I had to try it again, and yes it's still extremely salty and I still don't like it).

It's a feel good film, without big slap-stick humour, with mostly likeable and watchable dysfunctional characters. If you liked Sideways, you'll probably like this film. I give it four stars **** anyway.

In other exciting news, I hope you all like the changes I've been making to my blog. What, you hadn't noticed? Well to some of you they may be subtle changes, but for me it's like having a new job (so, I'm not feeling bored at all at the moment).

So what have I done??? I've...

  • made the blog posting space (where the words and images appear) wider to fit more on a viewing pane

  • added KEYWORDS to my blog title tags - 'Adventures in entertainment, Los Angeles and life' - this will help with SEO optimisation of my site

  • added Google and Yahoo buttons to the left-hand navigation sidebar, so that you can add my RSS news feed to your personalised iGoogle or MyYahoo page (go on, you know you want to add it)

  • been trying to publicise my blog on social networking sites such as DIGG and Facebook (become a fan of Jason in Hollywood NOW)

  • plus adding my blog to the Technorati blog search engine. I started on the 2nd April at 8,911,336, I'm now 4,978,671 - so if you're a member of Technorati add my blog to your favourites and become a 'Fan'.

  • and finally, my blog was picked up by another local L.A. blog. Maybe not the most welcoming, but am growing used to it now - every little traffic helps!

Ah well, it keeps me busy and out of trouble (and maybe in a job in a couple of years time?). So much to do, so little time.

To give me a respite from my 'work' and to stop me going stir crazy, last night we were invited out by some workmates of Charlie's for an after work drink at McCormick & Schmick's in Burbank. It's amazing what a few cosmo's and a chat with real people can do.

Enjoy the film if you choose to see it, it's not just for smart people...


The Unsomnambulist said...

Hey - sorry if that came across as unwelcoming - I was trying for goodnatured snark.

Anyway, I have whole entry devoted to you here:

Awesome blog, btw.

-David Markland

Jason in Hollywood said...

Thanks for your kind words and the blog support.

Our entry into America wasn't the most pleasant with immigration people (which you can imagine after a 12 hour flight isn't what you want), so has left us slightly sensitive!!

Anyhow, am loving L.A. and can't wait to have more fun here...

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