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Posts Tagged ‘Scott Pilgrim’

It has been a while since I put together a recommendation piece and even longer since I’ve done a straight film edition.  So just in case you wanted to hear my take again I thought it might be time for another.  As with the first film edition I’ve borrowed the film descriptions from Netflix (in italics) with my own take below.  I hope you enjoy and, as always, let me know your own recommendations.

Paper Heart (2009)

Eccentric performer and romantic skeptic Charlyne Yi embarks on a quest to learn the true nature of love — and gathers some surprising findings when she begins a relationship with actor Michael Cera. Real-life sweethearts Yi and Cera star as themselves in this quirky hybrid of documentary and scripted comedy. The charming romance was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

This is a faux-documentary that, if I hadn’t known differently, I would have thought was real.  Perhaps it is because Cera and Yi are a couple in reality or because many scenes in the film were improvised.  Either way, Paper Heart presents a funny and charming story full of indie style quirkiness and one of the more true-to-life young adult relationship stories on film today.

Hamlet (2009)

David Tennant stars as the melancholy Dane and Patrick Stewart portrays his uncle Claudius in this exhilarating version of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s smash hit 2009 production of “Hamlet,” which was filmed on location rather than on the stage. When Hamlet’s father’s ghost reveals he was murdered by Claudius, who then married his widow, Hamlet seeks revenge. Stewart won a prestigious Olivier Award for his riveting performance.

I will admit that I wanted to watch this mostly because it starred David Tennant (whom I first became familiar with through Doctor Who).  There is good reason for that since Tennant is a brilliant actor (and quite scary when he plays crazy).  Add onto that the also brilliant Patrick Stewart as Claudius and all the Royal Shakespeare Company and you have a fantastic Shakespearian production set in modern times.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010)

When dreamy delivery girl Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) starts popping up in his life, slacker musician Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) takes notice. But to win the love of this rollerblading goddess, Scott must vanquish all seven of her evil exes in martial arts battles. Based on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novels, director Edgar Wright’s action-packed romcom also stars Anna Kendrick, Brandon Routh and Chris Evans.

Yes, I know that I’ve banged on about this film before but I still think this is one of the most criminally overlooked films of last year.  A modern day love story with all of the difficulties and baggage that involves wrapped up in a story that is conceptually absurd and emotionally truthful.  It is the kind of pure fun that will stick with you for a while.  Besides, it is directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) so you know it has to be good.

Summer Wars (2009)

Though math whiz Kenji Koiso is a social zero, his avatar flourishes in the online space of Oz — until he accepts an e-mail request to solve a thorny equation, creating a conduit between the real and virtual worlds that may destroy both. Set in the not-too-distant future, this sci-fi anime thriller finds the shy Kenji coming out of his shell as he defends innocent citizens, and his honor, against a viral cyberspace menace.

This film has been described as many things: a romantic comedy, a cautionary tale about technology.  For me, though, this is really a story about the importance of family in good times and bad.  There is something here that will appeal to all ages in one of the best films of 2009/2010.

Your turn.  What do you think?

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These days we are rather over run by the romantic comedy genre.  To a certain extent that’s alright but after a while they can start doing more harm than good.  You see, most romantic comedies tend to revolve around a very adolescent concept of love.  This sort of overly sentimental and unrealistic depiction of romance (sometimes called “emotional porn”) is fine when all you want is a few moments of escapism but when it starts to reach the level of saturation it has it starts to affect how people believe romantic relationships should be.  That, in turn, can lead to some really messy situations when unrealistic expectations butt up against the realities of life.

That is why, for relationship veterans like me, the Scott Pilgrim series is such a breath of fresh air.  Here (in both the original graphic novel series and the recent film adaptation) that on the surface seems an over-the-top and absurd story operating on the logic of video games and Saturday morning cartoons but dig a little deeper and there can be found one of the most insightful and true to life depictions of human relationships to grace the genre in recent years.

For the uninitiated, the Scott Pilgrim series follows the mis-adventures of a habitually  immature Canadian hipster named Scott Pilgrim.  Scott has fallen obsessively in love with the new-in-town Romona Flowers and, by some miracle, has gotten her to return his affections.  Ramona, however, comes with a bit of baggage in the form of seven evil ex-boyfriends bent on Scott’s destruction.  Add onto this Scott’s own slightly off-kilter exes and the fact that everyone inexplicably has or gains superpowers at one point or another (see the aforementioned video game logic) and you get one of the most complicated relationships to ever hit the streets of Toronto.

With all of these ingredients pilled together we somehow get a wildly epic and hilariously comedic story that somehow manages to depict people in a realistic light (points, power-ups and boss fights aside).  That is because the characters here actually behave like real people do.  The problems here aren’t the contrived obstacles of most romantic comedies.  The big problems aren’t even really the seven evil exes trying to kill Scott.  Instead the main thing standing in the way of Scott and Ramona’s relationship is their own hang-ups.  Their respective immaturities, insecurities, and selfish desires prove a much greater threat and much bigger challenge than any sword-wielding, half-ninja ex ever could be.

All-in-all, Scott Pilgrim seems like something tailor made for my personality.  On the one hand it is crazy and over the–deeply infused with the hipster-geek culture that I’ve so long embraced–while on the other hand it is deeply heartfelt depicting both the joys and fallibilities of human relationships.  Needless to say, it gets a strong recommendation from me.

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