Due to not having blogged any last weekend, I’ll save the books I’ve been reading for another post.
WHEN IN ROME (2009) is a fun romantic comedy in which museum curator Kristin Bell’s broken heart convinces her to snatch up some coins from a Rome fountain (“You threw this in wishing for love, right? Well, I’m going to save you!”) which results in wiener king Danny deVito, sports columnist Josh Duhamel, a street magician and a male model all falling for her. Charming, and I give it extra points for not assuming Bell’s passion for her job is something that needs fixing, or for completely forgetting about her work struggles once she lands a man. “You’re so beautiful, I can’t decide if I should look at you or my own reflection.”
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE (2009) would double-bill well with the Jim Carrey Grinch for another example of a short poem expanded to more length than it can bear. The emphasis on Max’s family issues being worked out among the Wild Things doesn’t fit at all with the anarchic tone of the original—forgettable, in short. “I got a dirt clod in my eye!”
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S COMEDY (1999) is a good adaptation that shifts the setting to the 19th century Italian villa of “Monte Athena” where Oberon’s (Rupert Everett) and Puck’s (Stanley Tuccii) efforts to torment Titania (Michelle Pfeiffer) by having her fall for Bottom (Kevin Kline) lead to romantic confusion for Athenian lovers including Christian Bale and Callista Flockhart. Not great, but certainly good, though I think giving Kline just asses ears was a mistake (he doesn’t look anywhere goofy enough without the full mask—though his performance is solid). There’s also a nice variation on the usual disastrous performance of Pyramus and Thisbe in having “Thisbe” successfully connect with the audience. “There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and Thisbe that will not please.”
Having enjoyed the DOCTOR WHO serial Dalek Invasion of Earth, I decided to reach further back and watch The Daleks, the debut of the Doctor’s greatest foes wherein the TARDIS lands on an alien planet and against all common sense, the Doctor insists on taking a visit to this alien city in the distance … Good, though the acting here feels a little more stagebound.
To make up for the cost of The Daleks, the follow-up Edge of Destruction was completely set within the TARDIS, as the Doctor and his passengers discover the TARDIS frozen in space, nothingness outside the doors and the possibility Something has entered the ship—and maybe one of themselves … Nicely done, and I think this is the point at which the characters genuinely bond and overcome their mutual wariness.
ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE was the first season of Jay Ward’s legendarily insane cartoon, as Rocky the Flying Squirrel and his imbecilic buddy cope with stranded Moon Men, sinister Pottsylvanian spies Boris and Natasha and a scheme to corner all the world’s box-tops (back when they could be turned in for free gifts). Plus, of course, the time-spanning adventures of Mr. Peabody and my personal favorite, nitwitted Canadian Mountie Dudley Doright. Holds up amazingly well, though some of the political references might date it a little.