This year we hit two movies, Easy A and the Legend of the Guardians. I hadn't really noticed a decline in the number of people attending the movies until that night as both of the theaters were completely empty save for us. True, it was a Monday night but one of those suckers was a 500 seat auditorium. You would think there would at least be a bored concession worker in there.
Easy A stars Emma Stone as a girl who lets a lie about loosing her virginity help out a gentleman friends popularity. However, things get out of hand and she quickly becomes the school harlot via rumor alone. She handles it as any sassy teen would. Inspired by the English Lit class reading assignment The Scarlet Letter, she sews a red A onto all of her wardrobe.
Okay, from that description alone it doesn't sound like that incredible of a film. I can't argue it. Honestly, the main selling point for me was Emma Stone as I have an undefinable crush on her (see Zombieland the year before). Look at her, can you blame me?
However, shock of all shocks was when I caught a John Hughes reference...and then another, and another. Then there was a flat out discussion about how love in real life isn't like a John Hughes movie. The whole film turned out to be an homage to the 80's brat pack films from John Hughes, right down to the redhead lady in the lead. Not only that, but it was a good homage! I'm not kidding. It had interesting characters, compelling story and the characters grew over the course of the film. The characters had an arc! I know, wild right?
Seeing this sort of character arc shouldn't be so shocking in its rarity, but it seems that more often than not studios are cutting out character development for more explosions and breasts...although, thankfully, not for exploding breasts. More often than not in popcorn cinema the character is witness to an event or a 'truth' and either instantly or over the course of a fifteen second montage walks away a changed person. See the film Knocked Up for an easy example. However, I am a sucker for a well rendered character and will gladly watch a plotless film for interesting characters. For instance, I loved the Big Chill.
An added rarity is that the film was made for a mere 8 million even though it had no less than a half dozen above the line actors/actresses in it. It was also a spec script, meaning someone wrote it simply for the want of writing a good story and then sold it when a studio read it and despite it not being based on a book or a foreign film or having Redemption, Return, Resurrection or even a simple 2 at the end thought it would be a good bet. It paid off, their 8 million has already brought in 45 million and counting.
So, Easy A gets an A+ in my book. Need more convincing then check out the trailer below.
Easy A Trailer
Go into the Story has an excellent write up on Easy A and why they believe it has done so well.
As I said, the second film we watched was the Legend of the Guardians. How cool can a movie be about a bunch of owls? Pretty flippin cool is the answer. The average 'hey mom, bring your kids to a movie' poster is below.
However, the image they should be promoting is this one.
The aerial battles in this film were mind blowing! Also, this is the first 'in 3D' film I have seen where the 3D didn't seem tacked on as an after thought. You know what I mean, that one shot in these movies where an axe or coin goes flying at the camera in an attempt to make the hour and a half you wore those uncomfortable glasses worth it. Legends uses 3D as an artistic measure, not a bullet point. They use the third dimension to make you feel claustrophobic, the thrill of flying through a thunderstorm over a boiling ocean, or the chaos of a hundred owl mid air knife fight. I would expect nothing less than this sort of artistic forethought from the films director, Zack Snyder who brought us exceptional films in the new Dawn of the Dead, 300 and the Watchmen.
Parents bring your kids to see this flick, but expect to enjoy the movie as much as they do. My only complaint is that I wanted to go out immediately afterward and buy up some battle owl action figures and there were none to be found.
Check out the Legend trailer below.
Legend of the Guardians Trailer