Despite my impending deadline for Moon Florida Keys, Dan and I have had a pretty darn good weekend. As promised in my last post, we ventured to a nearby movie theater on Friday night and enjoyed a double feature of The Crazies and Shutter Island. While such thrillers might not be for everyone, we liked both of them immensely.
As other reviewers have noted, The Crazies is a surprisingly intelligent horror film. Spanning just a few days in the life (and unfortunate demise) of a small town in Iowa – due to an inadvertent contamination of the communal water supply – the movie offers an effective balance between terror and tragedy. Part of the film's success can be attributed to the solid cast, adeptly led by Timothy Olyphant – a skilled actor who manages to insert moments of humor in an otherwise serious film about a fatal government mistake and the callous cover-up that ensues. But, as I told my mom on the phone tonight, it's also surprisingly less gory than I expected, a testament to the filmmakers' desire to keep story and character development paramount.
Shutter Island, which we saw afterward, is an equally entertaining film, based on a novel by Dennis Lehane. Despite the fact that the story's climactic twist is apparent from the beginning, the experience is still well worth the price of admission (which is, by the way, a heck of a lot higher in Los Angeles than in northern Michigan). Given that it's filmed almost entirely on an isolated island during inclement weather, the movie is certainly rich with atmosphere. In fact, director Martin Scorsese has effectively used the environment to heighten the story's tension, leading the main character, a troubled U.S. marshal, through dangerous settings, such as a blustery cemetery and a perilous cliff face. Beyond the atmosphere, the film is full of excellent performances, from the likes of Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Michelle Williams, Jackie Earle Haley, and Ted Levine, not to mention engaging cameos by Patricia Clarkson and Elias Koteas. Of course, the star of the film is Leonardo DiCaprio, who gives a heart-wrenching performance in what is ultimately a poignant psychological drama.
But movies weren't the only diversion we experienced this weekend. Last night, we attended a Lost panel discussion at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. Part of this year's Paley Fest, an annual event hosted by the Paley Center for Media in celebration of modern television, the panel featured several members of the cast and creative team, including actors Terry O'Quinn (John Locke), Michael Emerson (Ben Linus), and Nestor Carbonell (Richard Alpert), plus executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse – all of whom offered amusing answers to the questions posed by the moderator and audience. Of course, no definitive secrets were revealed about the final season of this simultaneously compelling and annoying show, but we did get a chance to see a clip of next week's episode, which was cool. More than anything, I was delighted by the rapport between O'Quinn and Emerson, who play fierce rivals on the series, and frankly, I welcomed another night away from my laptop.
But, naturally, I'm hard at work today. Sigh.
Well, I hope your weekend was equally fun, wherever you went and whatever you did.
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