Kate and Leopold

Kate & Leopold. Konrad Pictures 2001.

Before watching the movie:

This is such a minor detail in my memory of the time and all that I’m not sure if I remember any promotional material that would have said this is about a time-displaced nobleman in modern times or if I more surmised it from the way the title makes a point of highlighting the difference in their names and extrapolating. Extrapolating very, very far. And also he dresses very nicely, but the basics of men’s formalwear haven’t changed in the last few centuries. Anyway, I know that that’s what this is about now, but since I don’t directly remember being told that before I selected this now, I’m not entirely certain if I was ever told that.

Turning my thoughts to “person from history is now transplanted to the modern day” movies, I’m particularly interested in the fact that I can’t think of any stories that were contemporary to before the 80s (Specifically, Time After Time). I’m sure there were some, and now I’m pretty interested in what the early part of the 20th century would’ve imagined the people of earlier centuries would have thought of them.

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Mr. 3000

Mr. 3000. The Kennedy/Marshall Company 2004.

Before watching the movie:

It occurs to me that even though I remember seeing all of the tv spots for it at the time, and I have a synopsis in front of me, I don’t know much about this story other than “Bernie Mac unretires from baseball to protect his record”.

I’m guessing the tension comes from him clashing with his teammates, mostly due to them resenting him using them like that, but also maybe an old school baseball/new school baseball rivalry.

I’m still going to go with “it’s about Bernie Mac playing baseball” though.

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Two Weeks Notice

Two Weeks Notice. Fortis Films 2002.
Two Weeks Notice. Fortis Films 2002.

Before watching the movie:

Despite both of them having a good track record in romantic comedies, I would never have thought to pair Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock. However, it makes perfect sense to set up a chalk and cheese couple, which are in fact a staple of romantic comedies.

It’s interesting that this movie appears to start from a position of realizing their relationship needs to either improve or end, which is usually the crisis point of the plot. I’m picturing something close to a plot where the bad boyfriend who’s usually there to get dumped in favor of the love interest, tries to reform into the love interest.

After watching the movie:

Lucy Kelson is an activist lawyer, as likely to organize a protest rally as file a suit in her fight against injustices. While crusading to save a historic Coney Island community center, planned to be demolished as an eyesore for a planned luxury condo tower nearby, she charges up to George Wade of the Wade Corporation development group, one of the bidders for the building contract, to make her argument, which among other things, includes a guarantee that she can get Wade the job in exchange for an agreement to spare the community center. Her eloquence and skill impress George, whose brother and senior partner Howard has demanded he get a real legal counsel this time and not another mistress to payroll. George offers Lucy the position, noting that not only will he spare and work around the community center in return, but the job also comes with full control over Wade Corporation’s pro bono legal budget. After some handwringing over this deal with the devil, Lucy accepts. Unfortunately, George quickly comes to rely upon her for every decision except legal matters, at all times of day and night, and after several months of this, Lucy resigns, which George reluctantly accepts, only on the condition she locate and train her own replacement. Only now that the process of separation has begun, they find that perhaps neither one of them can stand to see the other go.

I thought this story was going to avoid the stable, boring current partner that needs to be dumped for the romantic interest, but interestingly, Lucy does have a current partner that exits in the third act. Only he never actually appears because he’s always on a boat somewhere in another part of the world, and we only hear of their breakup after the fact.

I came into the story expecting her resignation to be the inciting action, but it’s actually more of the turn into the second act. I probably could’ve enjoyed an entire movie of the misadventures of falling in love with a clueless and needy boss, but they only really start to notice each other as people when they begin to disentangle as coworkers. Which is also enjoyable, just in a way that leaves an obvious joint.

Despite doing some unusual turns on tropes, this is a fairly standard romantic comedy. Witty things get said, arguments are had, feelings get developed, hidden, and revealed, and ultimately, the formula plays out in the manner the audience is accustomed to, and an hour and a half is passed in fun but not very distinctive storytelling.

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Monkeybone

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Monkeybone. 1492 Pictures 2001.

Before watching the movie:

I always conflated this movie with Cool World because of the idea of an artist interacting with a cartoon reality. Until I reread my review of Cool World, I still thought it was also about creator and creation, but the artist only based his work on the already-existing alternate reality.

Also, this is definitely actually aimed at a PG-13 rating. And the animation is claymation, or CG pretending to be claymation, rather than Ralph Bakshi rotoscoped xeroxes. Continue reading

Legally Blonde

Legally Blonde. Metro Goldwyn-Mayer 2001.
Legally Blonde. Metro Goldwyn-Mayer 2001.

Before watching the movie:

So as I’ve heard, this is the story of a brilliant law student using sex appeal to break into Harvard so she can get un-dumped by her boyfriend. And that’s just about all I’ve heard. I seem to recall it managed to get a sequel or two as well as a stage musical, despite the fact that that description doesn’t sound like something that could lend itself to a sequel, but when has that stopped anyone before?

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The Core

The Core. David Foster Productions 2003.
The Core. David Foster Productions 2003.

Before watching the movie:

I think of this movie as “Armageddon with Dirtronauts” (from a Dick van Dyke Show pitch). I really just know the log line, something’s wrong with the Earth’s core and we need to go fix it. Apparently it’s too dangerous to send robots to that kind of temperature and pressure so humans have to go instead.

It’s actually a fascinating idea to send an expedition below the crust, even if the conceit is ludicrous. At least Journey to the Center of the Earth is so divorced from science (I think even in Verne’s day the hollow Earth theory was at least on the way out) that it can be read as pure fantasy. With what we currently understand about the planet, no good can come from sending people that deep inside it, and the only sources of story there come from just how implausible such an expedition would be. So I’m going to try to enjoy this on its internal consistency, because the way it pretends to be science just preemptively frustrates me, but it otherwise looks like fun.

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Best in Show

Best in Show. Castle Rock Entertainment 2000.
Best in Show. Castle Rock Entertainment 2000.

Before watching the movie:

I’ve probably been aware of this movie since shortly after it came out. I remember for years seeing it on the shelf at the library, picking it up, and putting it down again. It always looked like something I should be interested in, but it never grabbed me. It’s about a dog show. It’s a mockumentary. It’s by Christopher Guest. And none of that ever really put it over the edge for me, until now.

For an improvisational mockumentary with a huge cast, the only thing I know to expect is that I can’t predict anything.

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