What's a guy to do when "Sex and the City" is the only new game in town and he's under no obligation to see it? Well, leave, of course, and go see a different movie in a bigger town.
Now, I have no problems whatsoever with "Sex and the City," and I certainly hope all movie studio executives were paying attention to the fact that a movie starring four women made $56 million in its opening weekend. A hearty huzzah to that.
But, having no interest in it myself, I went up the road to Atlanta to see Tarsem's "The Fall," and despite the toll that gas prices took on my wallet, I'm certainly glad I did.
But before I get to that, there are two bits of news today about two flicks to definitely keep your eyes on. First, the very funny Ed Helms of "The Office" fame has joined Billy Bob Thornton in the Polish brothers upcoming flick, "Manure," which, as you can probably guess, is about a trio of guys who make a living selling animal excrement.
In possibly even better news, Judd Apatow has set his next directing effort (after "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and the far superior "Knocked Up") to be about the world of stand-up comedians. It's set to star Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann (a k a Mrs. Apatow) and Eric Bana, who many people might not know started out as a stand-up comedian himself way back when. And though I have no desire to see Sandler ham it up this weekend in "Don't Mess With the Zohan," he is a naturally funny guy with the right material, and as I found out when we played a round of pool at Kitty O'Shea's bar in D.C., also a genuinely nice dude.
But, I definitely digress from the matter at hand, Tarsem's mostly satisfying "The Fall."
Most of the noise you'll hear about this flick will have to do with the rather astounding visuals, which are a definite asset but, in my opinion, also somewhat of a handicap.
Why? Well, because Tarsem's movie is really about two stories that run on parallel tracks, and the more visually stunning one that springs from the mind of Lee Pace is often the weaker of the two.
The flick is at its strongest when it sticks to the more intimate tale of Roy, a stuntman injured in a fall and played by Pace of "Pushing Daisies" fame, and Alexandria, a young girl with a busted arm played endearingly by Catinca Untaru. Pace plays it cool until his character takes a turn for the much worse, and that's when he really shines. (And, if I may digress yet again, why in the world isn't ABC replaying the first season of the great "Pushing Daisies" to get everyone reacquainted with it in time for season two this fall?) And though young Ms. Uncaru is too often just too cute to bear, her enthusiasm for the imaginary world Roy creates for her gives the flick much of its drive.
And it's the visuals in the story he fishes from his mind that will rightfully garner the most attention, and they are indeed pretty darn stunning. Tarsem was clearly having fun here, and if I have this right, he shot it all without the aid of any kind of digital enhancement, so huzzah to that.
But it's this aspect of the story that has also drawn the most criticism, mostly due to what some critics saw as a lack of creativity in the tale that springs from Roy's mind. Though it does indeed feature some groan-worthy moments and more than a couple instance of unintentional humor, I was willing to forgive this due to the circumstances he was in when he created it (which, so I won't ruin anything, you won't hear about from me.)
When these two worlds finally collide at the finish what you have is a movie that's at least as much about the power of this odd friendship as it is about the magic of storytelling. And, much like young Alexandria as it came to a close, I was left saying "Thank you, thank you, thank you" as the credits started to roll.
Definitely go see this one if you can find it, and have a perfectly bearable Tuesday. Peace out.