21 November 2009

New Moon (2009)

You know how it took Natalie Portman a few years to recover from her epically wooden performances in the Star Wars movies? Well, Kristin Stewart is facing an even bigger uphill battle. Not that I blame Natalie or Kristen too much. It is much better to go for the paycheck and name brand recognition when you're young, and still have plenty of time to build a solid career while making some bank along the way. But while I love Kristen, it can't be ignored anymore: she's terrible in the Twilight movies. It's not really her fault though. There's not much to do as Bella except sigh, run, fall, scream, cry, and look like she's smitten. If an actress as wonderful as Natalie can be hampered by a bad script, it's no wonder Kristin sleepwalks (and trademark squints) her way through these things.

Actually, there's still no clear answer on if Kristin is actually a good actress. She was perfect as an almost mute girl in Speak, par for the course in Adventureland, good with her limited screen time in Into the Wild and In the Land of Women. And I'm embarrassed to admit it but I've YouTubed her scenes in Zathura: A Space Adventure just to see what the hell it was about. I guess her upcoming Joan Jett biopic, The Runaways, will tell us right? I feel like there's an iconic movie coming from her, and I have to remind myself that she's still just nineteen and has many more movies to come.

So is New Moon good or what? I expected the Twilight series to follow a similar book/movie path to the Harry Potters. The first few movies would be shaky but things would get better and at some point the right book would result in a good movie (for Potter it was "The Prisoner of Azkaban"). Well, it looks like the opposite is happening. New Moon wasn't nearly as exciting as Twilight and seemed choppy throughout. If you haven't read the book I feel like there's a lot of unexplained motivations going on. Not that there's much to figure out, or much depth to be plumbed, but New Moon the movie lacked any sense to urgency, adventure, mystery, or emotional heft.

The good news for fans is that Taylor Lautner buffs up and becomes a fitting competitor for Edward. While I'm definitely Team Ed all the way, it's hard to make fun of Team Jake anymore. I'm a sucker for giant wolves, what can I say? I've decided I can forgive homewrecker Jacob since he's a nice guy and really has Bella's best interests at heart. Meanwhile, Edward is kind of heartless as he tells Bella she won't ever see him again -- even if he's doing it to keep her safe. Way to send her into an emotional tailspin buddy.

And Charlie has to be the most obtuse dad ever. He's really the chief of police? He doesn't wonder how/why all these boys are driving Bella home in her truck and then just loping off into the wilderness? Never mind the whole "there are multiple murders here in this tiny town every few months" thing, Charlie would be more believable if his day job were, say, a baker. Not a sheriff. His powers of perception are not strong.

I guess my take on the movie is that if you're a Twi-hard, you'll watch this and love it. If you're not, well, what can I say? Buy Exclusively Chloe?

During the previews, I noticed that Amanda Seyfried from Mean Girls (the "I have ESPN!" girl) is the lead in two upcoming romantic comedies, Dear John and Letters to Juliet. I'd be pissed if I was Lacey Chalbert. All those years on Party of Five and she can't get at least one romantic comedy to star in? I'd consider going blonde right away if I was Lacey. And how does Lindsay Lohan feel having not one, but two, of her former costars have more successful careers five years post-Mean Girls? Then again, I'm not so sure Lindsay cares much about her "career" anymore.