The GSC counter girl couldn't stop giggling and commented to her colleagues "kelakar lah ni ...". So much that she made a mistake and calculated the totals wrongly and overcharged me – which, silly me, I didn't realise at the time either. I only realised it when I was watching When In Rome, which might explain why I didn't enjoy that film. Anyway I did manage to go up to the counter to ask for my money back – an endeavour which I had figured wouldn't go anywhere since I can't exactly prove that I paid RM34 extra – but one of the senior employees was kind enough to investigate and, in fact, promptly and without hesitation brought the case up with the relevant giggling girl – he even knew which staff member sold those crazy amount of tickets to that crazy customer. Yep, that's one advantage of buying so many tickets: they can't possibly forget you.
Anyway, they said they'll investigate and I can come by after the next film. Next thing I know, halfway through It's Complicated the audience member next to me tapped me and indicated that there's a whole group of GSC employees waiting for me at the aisles. Turns out they sent the very apologetic giggling girl to return my money to me. Nice gesture – and to the giggling girl, seriously, I'm not mad, relax – but just a suggestion: maybe not such a nice idea to disturb the patrons in the middle of a movie. (On the other hand, maybe they're just covering their asses, in case the wronged customer is one of those unreasonable assholes who expect this kind of overly servile service.) Still, on the whole, GSC Megamall can be commended on their courteous intentions.
Now to the movies themselves ...
KLue review here. ... Or, the short version is: don't waste your time. Seriously.
The first Martin Scorsese film I saw at the cinema – a fact I realised only after the film started. Great direction combined with great acting (with Leo DiCaprio being front and center for almost the entire running time of the film, and he stands out with some really great dramatic performances here – another Oscar nom for him coming up ...) and accomplished technical craft (editing, cinematography, production design, costume design, etc) makes for an entertaining psychological suspense thriller that seems to have made not a single misstep in how it chooses to tell the story and grab the audience's mind. In particular I love the bevy of actresses who appear here; they're big names but in relatively small roles, such as Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson and Michelle Williams.
In particular, I quite enjoyed the dream sequences, which incorporates the attributes of dreamscapes into its editing – e.g. people switch around but you don't notice in your dream mind, as well as sudden changes in the landscape.
I must say I think I enjoyed this Scorsese film more than his others – because this one is not trying to be some epic crime drama or violent gang film or something, just a well-written suspense thriller that requires a masterful director to see through to the big screen with minimum fuss.
Incidentally, I interned at Phoenix Pictures in Los Angeles back when they were in the beginning stages of pre-production of this project; Scorsese and DiCaprio were already attached by that time. The screenplay was lying around and we were all supposed to read it, but I never did read the screenplay till this day and that paid off well and I got to enjoy the film quite a lot.
WHEN IN ROME
Well I knew it was gonna be lame but I was still hoping to enjoy it. Kristen Bell is cute (her tiny eyes do that job) and I like Josh Duhamel. But the scripted jokes just weren't that funny, and the dialogue seems too ingrained in clichés and tired plot gimmicks. (The one where someone badmouths someone else who is standing behind ... oh yeah.) Also I don't know how many of the Malaysian audience would recognise the La Dolce Vita and Napoleon Dynamite/Nacho Libre references.
I'd say avoid it. No point.
I've heard both good and not-so-positive reviews about this. Well it's Meryl Streep so the movie can't really suck, and it's actually really interesting to see a restrained Steve Martin playing a shy architect. The jokes were somewhat funny – but then I couldn't remember most of them at the end of the day. Well, except for the ones in the trailers repeated ad nauseam at the cinemas. On the whole, it didn't resonate with me the way Nancy Meyers' last rom-com did – The Holiday, which deals with unrequited love among others.
(That image above would've looked awesome in 3D. Just sayin'.)
Best Supporting Actress nomination for Chloë Grace Moretz, anyone? There, I said it first. We'll see whether that'll ever happen.
Lead actor Aaron Johnson (though he actually feels more like a supporting player once Act Two begins) is one lucky young actor. Turning 20 next month, this British lad has already had a pretty substantial breakout with Nowhere Boy and Angus, Thongs And Perfect Snogging, and now procures a perfect (as far as I can tell) American accent in his Hollywood debut as Kick-Ass. But beyond that, what makes him special is that he's already engaged to his director on Nowhere Boy – who's 43 years old – and now they're expecting a child.
The movie itself is awesome. It manages to be unpredictable and horrifying and funny (morbidly funny, as in you're watching in horror as the hero gets pummeled, then you cut to a jokey scene where you laugh, then you cut back to hero getting pummeled and feeling tense again) and fuck-you rebelliously entertaining. The only thing is the middle section sags a little bit – I was getting a bit bored with the scenes involving the bad guys ... a little too much. Shaving the movie down by 5 to 10 mins would've worked better. But that third act, all half an hour of it? Awesome shit, man! Hit Girl totally steals the spotlight in this movie, and she makes that dumb Japanese girl in Kill Bill look like a wuss.
It's also fortuitous that the Malaysian censorship board has chosen last month to start easing certain restrictions on movies playing here – one of them being the usage of profanities such as 'fuck'. It's unimaginable watching this film with all the 'fucks' (carelessly) scissored out. Also, the masturbation references are all left in. Not bad, censorship board ... keep it up and you'll be the relevant Malaysian generation's favourite government entity.
Oh yeah, I managed to spot "The Spirit 3" running down the cinema ticker tape. Nice joke.
And the music. Listen to as many contemporary film scores as I have, and you'd recognise it as well – flashes of motifs from other recent superhero movies; the Elfman pulsating beats from Spider-Man, the Zimmer-Howard pounding bass from The Dark Knight, the grandly heroic melodies from X-Men, and so on.
After this movie though, man, why would we audiences ever want to see another Spider-Man movie (seriously, studio people) or another Fantastic Four movie?
Kick-Ass is, next to the film below, the most epicly heroic movie this year. We want to see Kick-Ass 2 happen. Suck that, Hollywood! (This movie is privately funded because no one in Hollywood wanted to touch it.)
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON
Watching it for the 3rd time (in 3D) has sealed this movie as my favourite movie of the year so far. It may not survive that ranking by the end of 2010, but it will take a heck of a film to knock it off the top. Original review here.