Saturday, September 06, 2008

Vacation viewing!

Had the opportunity to catch a couple of films while I was on vacation and thought I'm quickly mention them.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (seen on a decent size screen on the ship, while enjoying a Pina Colada)- is the second film in the Narnia series based on the novels by C.S. Lewis. I never had the chance to see the first film, although I did read the book years ago and saw the British television series based on it. I never got beyond the first book in the series, so was taken by by how dark the film was in some portions. Although some characters are revived (and we all know where Lewis was going with that symbolism) there are a number of deaths in the movie. While not especially graphic, I could see how young kids might be disturbed by the nighttime attack on the castle and some other scenes. While not up to Peter Jackson's brilliant Lord of the Rings trilogy, the film certainly was entertaining. Of note was Sergio Castellitto in the role of King Miraz, uncle of Prince Caspian and the major villain in the film.

The Happening (watched on a lap-top sized viewer in First Class flying from Anchorage to Seattle and enjoying a rum & Coke) - Is another strange and disturbing film by M. Night Shyamalan. Mark Wahlberg plays a high school science teacher who finds himself fleeing with his wife and others from Philadelphia after New York suffers an apparent terrorist attack. The film moves from Wahlberg and his fellow travelers, back to the city as events begin to escalate and spread. We see and hear newscasters, 'experts' and others speculating on just what may be happening and why. I saw the film in edited format on a plane, so some scenes and language may have been altered, but it was still quite chilling. Along with Wahlberg, we have solid performances by John Leguizamo (as one of Wahlberg's fellow teachers and close friend) and Zooey Deschanel as Wahlberg's wife (who has her own secret). Betty Buckley gives a creepy performance as the mysterious Mrs. Jones, a woman who allows Wahlberg to stay overnight in her home. As usual with Shyamalan's movies not everything is answered or explained, but perhaps it shouldn't be. Probably not the best film by the writer/director, but a decent addition to his resume.
I've found that the consumption of alcohol while watching movies can make any film an enjoyable experience. :-)
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