Yesterday, I had a full-blown movie day, and I saw three movies: Admission, Spring Breakers, and Stoker. A crazy boy like me couldn't ask for such different films!
I figured I would like Admission because I love Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. They seem perfectly matched for anything. Fey plays Portia Nathan, a Princeton admissions adviser who starts taking professional risks after she learns that a current applicant, Jeremiah (Nat Wolff) might be the son she gave up for adoptions years ago. Rudd costars as John Pressman, Jeremiah's teacher and mentor.
Admission was directed by Paul Weitz who also helmed In Good Company, American Dreamz and About a Boy. I found Admission to be very placid. Not boring or bad, but frustratingly calm and pleasant. I was waiting for something major to happen, but it never came. If the screenplay was sharper or Weitz took it in a more satirical direction, the film would have been better.
Totally lost on me.
Ever since I saw MTV's Spring Break as a young teen, I've wondered if the grinding, drunken bodies were true to life. Spring Breakers opens with ten minutes of slow motion debauchery as college kids guzzle beer and strip their bikini tops on a gorgeous beach as house music assaults your senses. If you aren't amused or entertained by this you are in for a long two hours.
The plot is simple. Four college girls (Ashley Benson, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, and Rachel Korine, pictured above) rob a diner with hammers and a squirt gun in order to drink and snort their boring lives away. James Franco enters the picture as Alien, a rapper drug dealer who changes the course of their party-filled vacay. He promises the girls the life they've been dreaming of after he introduces them to a different world fill of guns and gang violence. The relationship between Alien and the girls grows absurd and disturbing.
Spring Breakers is incredibly excessive (motifs and sequences are repeated several times) and colorful. I couldn't tear my eyes away from it, and the slight foreshadowing kept me completely interested. I found the movie to be over-the-top, ridiculous, vibrant, and utterly captivativing. I will say this. I will never listen to "Everytime" by Britney Spears the same way ever again.
I have beeb excited to see Park Chan-wook's Stoker since the first trailer debuted (don't watch the international trailer because I think it shows too much of the movie). Stoker is moody and beautifully shot, and features strong performances from all three main leads. The mixture of atmosphere and restraint for the first two thirds make it something worth checking out.
India Stoker's father, Richard (Dermott Mulroney, hunky as ever) dies in a car accident, and his brother, Charlie (Matthew Goode) suddenly arrives to stay with India (Mia Wasikowska) and her mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman). Something is off about Charlie from the get-go and Evelyn is getting a little too chummy to quickly. India also becomes strangely drawn to her uncle, but she seems conflicted. She is drawn to his mysterious presence. Something is rotten in the Stoker estate?
Mia Wasikowska, I admit, has never really done it for me. Alice in Wonderland haunted me for weeks (months, even), and I was still getting over my Tim Burton toothache when I saw her in Jane Eyre and The Kids Are All Right. Here she is quiet and still, a predator constantly watching her prey. India took numerous hunting trips with her father, and she allows her hunting lessons to casually permeate into her every day life. I would argue that she should have been cast as the title character of Kimberly Pierce's remake of Carrie.
The cinematography and editing of the movie are enticing. So far this year, there isn't a movie as visually captivating as Stoker. As we learn more about Charlie, however, the movie loses somethig. The climax seems like something out of a standard thriller, and the rest of the movie is better than that.