Monday, October 6, 2008

DOUBLE FEATURE: "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" and "Blindness"

This past Saturday I spent the afternoon at AMC Northpark catching a couple of new releases. Both films are based on books neither of which I have read. So I can't offer any insight as to whether or not they stayed "true to the book" [and many films are?].

The first flick I saw was Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. I'd been looking forward to this film based the stars: Michael Cera and Kat Dennings. Cera is probably best known for the films Juno and Superbad but I first became aware of him as George Michael Bluth on Arrested Development [one of my all-time fave TV shows]. Denning had a breakout role as Catherine Keener's daughter in The 40-Year Old Virgin.
Cera's Nick is a recently dumped bassist in a band whose other members are homosexuals [Nick is hetero]. He's also a bit of a hipster doofus and makes numerous mix CDs in hopes of winning back the love of Tris [played by Alexis Dziena]. Tris is a bit of a twatwaffle and brings said mix CDs to school where she has a laugh with her friends at his desperation before tossing the CD in the trash. Norah [Dennings], who is a frenemy of Tris, rescues the assorted mix CDs from the trash because the compiler has really good musical taste [he is a hipster doofus after all].
Jump ahead to a club where Nick's band - The Jerk Offs - is performing. Tris is present with her new flicker of the moment and Norah is accompanied by her BFF Caroline [a delightful Ari Graynor in a breakout performance]. Without going into every detail of the story just suffice it so say that hijinks ensue. And you will never again share gum with someone.

The performances are pretty solid all around. The same can't be said of the story. It often felt to me that the script was a veiled attempt to name-check a bunch of hipster doofus bands [especially during the opening credits] while sending the characters all over New York City. It plays out like a cross between Before Sunrise and Bringing Up Baby. It's certainly not a terrible film. It just didn't work for me. I'm sure my parents probably felt the same way about all those precious John Hughes flicks of my youth. A good friend of mine saw it Friday night and enjoyed it. So give it a try. Maybe you'll feel it more than I did.

But take this as a warning: do not under any circumstances go see Blindness.

The film has an interesting premise [people suddenly go blind for no reason; hijinks ensue] and a solid cast. The first ten or fifteen minutes creates an appropriate amount of dread and then it just meanders. After what seemed like an eternity I glanced at my watch to discover that it had been about 50 minutes since the film started. That's when I realized that Endless might have been a more appropriate title. After sitting through the following 70 minutes I changed my mind. Pointless would have been a much more fitting title.

**********SPOILER ALERT***************
There's no explanation given as to why everybody [except for Julianne Moore] went blind nor why they suddenly regain their vision at the end.

Trust me on this. Blindness is two hours of your life that you'll never get back. As much as I hated Mama Mia at least that film made sense. I'd gladly sit through that again instead of Blindness. To put it differently...I'd subject myself to the "singing" of Pierce Brosnan if it meant not having to sit through the cool looking flick starring Julianne Moore. I can't put it any more plainly than that.

No comments: