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Phoebe yes, Watchmen no

March 8, 2009 pm31 8:19 pm
Two new movies this weekend. I was planning none, saw Watchmen, and then had to run to see something else to wipe away the sense that I’d wasted almost 3 hours.

Hey, Watchmen will have fans. If you know the stories (some sort of graphic novel or comic book or are they really the same thing?) it’s probably easier to love.

The story is about crime fighting regular heroes who dress up and become superheroes, and an alternate history where Nixon pulled a Bloomberg and repealed term limits and serves five terms (extended by winning Viet Nam).

There’s lots of startle-moments (when the sound track lulls you, and something mundane happens, and Boo! the sound cuts and something unexpected happens. Like I told Fred, don’t sit next to someone who tends to throw popcorn.

Some pretty cool effects. But they wear, with time. And trust me, this movie takes a lot of time. There is major stage setting. There are frequent flashbacks. The movie makers have ensured that those who did not read the comic have all the back information possible, every detail gets filled in. I am guessing that they were excrutiatingly faithful to the printed version. And then the ending… Hm. Like I told Fred, the story ended. And kept going anyway for another 20 minutes plus.

Bright spot: long segments are narrated by a Raymond Chandler-type (more detective than) hero. Make it noir and campy and I’ll sit happy.

The following day I left home without checking listings. I grabbed a Post on the way to the train, narrowed to 3 choices, but when I arrived at W4 the only one that made sense was Phoebe in Wonderland.

An imaginative 9 year old girl, with professional (well, semi-pro) lit-crit parents gets drawn into a production of Alice in Wonderland by a quirky drama teacher. Elle Fanning, (little sister of you-know-who) is delightful as the little girl. Felicity Huffman is frantic, exasperated, frustrated as the mother whose colleagues work on their studies without children to take care of. I thought the other kid, the little sister, Bailee Madison, was adorable.

But here’s the story: the kid’s imagination seems to be running wild. She’s making a great Alice, but there’s weird behavior. There’s a shrink. A friend. Normal teachers (who are strange) and a strange teacher (who seems normal).

Not much of a story? Nah. But absolutely delightful. If this film makes it to your town, it’s worth the ticket. And the parking.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 11, 2009 pm31 8:14 pm 8:14 pm

    the comic’s a masterpiece.
    a “graphic novel” is a comic
    marketed as a book.
    that fanning kid is mighty cute.

    the site’s lookin’ good.

    hey. no math!

    • March 16, 2009 am31 8:58 am 8:58 am

      But the movie, if it’s appeal depends on reading the “book”…

  2. March 12, 2009 pm31 5:28 pm 5:28 pm

    Check out this Watchmen marquee. The Squid is all in your head:



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