Before I launch into what will likely be a love letter to Joss Whedon and Ellen Page, I have to talk about the film I discovered this past week through the sorcery that is Netflix. It’s called And Now a Word from Our Sponsor. It stars the consistently incredible Bruce Greenwood (Pike in the Star Trek reboots, JFK in 13 Days) as an eccentric advertising CEO who mysteriously loses consciousness in an electronics store and wakes up in the hospital only able to communicate with commercial slogans. I was more than surprised by this movie. I thought for sure the slogan communication thing would get tedious after 15 minutes, but it works and develops itself in some very effective ways. All credit goes to the writing and Greenwood’s performance and delivery of countless ad slogans as meaningful dialogue. There’s definitely a message about the over commercialization of life and language, but the film doesn’t beat you over the head with it which makes it even more endearing and pleasant to watch. I highly recommend this gem to any Netflix explorers such as myself.
Now on with the Whedon/Page fan boy fellatio…
Much Ado About Nothing (2013) at the Cedar Lee
Premiering Friday, June 21
Synopsis: Leonato, the governor of Messina, is visited by his friend Don Pedro who is returning from a victorious campaign against his brother Don John. Accompanying Don Pedro are two of his officers: Benedick and Claudio. While in Messina, Claudio falls for Leonato’s daughter Hero, while Benedick verbally spars with Beatrice, the governor’s niece. The budding love between Claudio and Hero prompts Don Pedro to arrange with Leonato for a marriage.In the days leading up to the ceremony, Don Pedro attempts to sport with Benedick and Beatrice in an effort to trick the two into falling in love. Meanwhile, the villainous Don John plots against the happy couple, using his own form of trickery to try to destroy the marriage before it begins.
Here is a list of the things Joss Whedon has written and/or directed that I have enjoyed since I was a wee lad: Toy Story, Titan A.E., Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Serenity, Dr. Horrible’s Sing’Along Blog, Dollhouse, Cabin in the Woods, and The Avengers. Yes, I am a huge nerd. Something I am not is a fan of Shakespeare. It’s never been my thing due partly, in my opinion, to that awful Baz Luhrmann Romeo + Juliet from the 90s. I’ve also never enjoyed the language of Shakespeare. I’m reminded of a quote from comedian Bo Burnham, “talent is really easy to fake when thy sentences doth no f#%&ing sense make.” That being said, I’m going to see Much Ado About Nothing because I’m confident that if there’s one person who can make Shakespeare entertaining for me, that person is likely Joss Whedon. The film is filled with some of my favorite actors from some of Whedon’s best work. It was also filmed over 2 weeks at Whedon’s house in Santa Monica on a micro-budget that likely wouldn’t cover Robert Downey Jr.’s coffee budget on Avengers 2. I hope this film lives up to its history and its director, and I encourage any non-Shakespeare fans like me to give it a go as well. At the very least, you’ll be able to impress people with your knowledge of one Shakespeare play.
The East at the Cedar Lee
Premiering Friday, June 21
Synopsis: Former FBI agent Sarah Moss has begun working at an elite private intelligence firm that ruthlessly protects the interests of its A-list corporate clientele. When [pick]ed to go undercover to infiltrate The East, an elusive anarchist collective seeking revenge against major corporations guilty of criminal activity, Sarah finds herself torn between the two worlds…
I had no idea what this film was before watching a trailer two days ago. To be honest, the synopsis doesn’t match the visceral awesomeness of the trailer I’ve posted below. I love a good subversive thriller, and The East seems to be just that. I’m also a big Ellen Page fan. Inception is one of my favorite movies of all time. She was great in the movie Super (despite the incredibly awkward sex scene she has with Rainn Wilson). I even enjoy the movie she made about roller derby, Whip It. I’m interested to see Ellen Page in this more subversive role as a political activist/domestic terrorist. It’s a nice change of pace from her usual roles as the awkward, yet attractive, intelligent girl. This movie had my money during the trailer with lines like, “We are The East. We don’t care how rich you are. We want all those who are guilty to experience the terror of their crimes. It’s easy when it’s not your life, easy when it’s not your home. But when it’s your fault, it shouldn’t be so easy to sleep at night, especially when we know where you live.”
There may not be any late night cult showings this week, but these are two movies you don’t have to wait until midnight to see. Go spend some of your value papers at the Cedar Lee this weekend. You’ll be doing yourself and your community a favor. ‘Murica!