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#380: One-Track Mind

July 30, 2009

Notes from the Manager

Related Strips: #376: Hiding in Plain Sight; #377: History Lesson

The movie they're watching is, of course, (500) Days of Summer (as noted in #378). It's a really fun film — perhaps just shy of being a great film — but I enjoyed it more… on almost an intellectual level than an emotional level.

I feel like it's being sold as a romantic comedy (despite a narrator saying "This is not a love story" in both the trailer and the film), and I don't know how accurate that is. Summer is Joseph Gordon-Levitt's film, without a doubt. While I am utterly in love with Zooey Deschanel (as I've mentioned several times in the past, I'm sure), Summer Finn is more of an idea of a perfect girl than a well-rounded character. This is not, at least in my opinion, a flaw with the film; it's sort of the central conceit: that the "perfect girl" doesn't exist. I love this movie for that — but it does make it something other than a romantic comedy, I think.

In the film, JGL's character Tom is a failed architect of sorts. He takes Summer on sort of a walking tour of downtown LA early in their relationship, but rather than point out modern buildings (booooring) he pointed out some of the older, ornate skyscrapers that often get forgotten about when people think of Los Angeles. (You can see a few photos of the gorgeous Fine Arts Building mentioned in panel 2 at Public Art in LA.com.)

Summer doesn't dwell on the architecture stuff too terribly long or anything, but rather than just mentioning that Tom wants to be an architect and casually tossing off the most famous architects' names the screenwriter could think of ("Oh yeah, I used to want to be an architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, blah blah"), they actually talk about the buildings a little bit. Shocking.

I might be talking up this aspect of the film more than I ought to, because it's really not a huge part of the movie, but I adore (500) Days of Summer for that little touch— and not just because it played so beautifully into the storyline I'd already started.

Here's the film's trailer (from which the movie still was taken):

The website Devi mentions — Cinema Treasures — is one of my favorite websites on the internet. The database lets me easily track down and read about every single movie theater that has ever existed, and its wonderfully passionate users often link to photos they've taken or found of the buildings. (They also have an absolutely gorgeous coffee table book.) You can read a little about the Million Dollar Theater mentioned in this strip and glimpsed briefly in (500) Days of Summer at Cinema Treasures or check out some photos of it via Google Images.

UPDATE: Oh, and I almost forgot. There are two new, long overdue reader cameos. One is hempy (a.k.a. Paul Hempseed, who has the coolest name ever) with the red hair towards the back in panel 2, and the other is... umm… I forget at the moment. The Asian guy next to Paul. I'll edit this bit later. Psyrick! That's who!


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Review: Coherence (2013)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

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Written and directed by James Ward Byrkit.
Starring Emily Foxler, Hugo Armstrong, Nicholas Brendon, Elizabeth Gracen, Lauren Maher, Alex Manugian, Lorene Scafaria, and Maury Sterling.

A new Patreon backer at the $50 level opted out of the usual reward of a plug in the “Become a Multiplex Patron” box (above, on the website), asking instead for me to plug the 2013 indie science fiction filmCoherence (with which he is not affiliated). I was happy to oblige, and so “A fan of Coherence” — a.k.a. The Patron, as I’ll refer to him from here out — is, for the duration of his patronage, among Multiplex‘s supporters. (And, yes, I will review just about any movie a $50 backer asks me to.)

What really got my interest in the film (aside from being asked very nicely to see it) was that The Patron compared it to Shane Carruth’s Primer, one of the best no-budget sci-fi movies ever made. I can definitely see the comparison: both are decidedly low-budget films with small casts and a science-fictiony premise. I feel like seeing the film fairly blind is probably the best, so I won’t summarize the plot beyond the premise of eight friends having a dinner party when a comet passes over and Strange Things Happen, but I don’t think I’m quite as enthusiastic as The Patron.

Unfortunately, the “go in as blind as you can” suggestion means I feel like I need to be pretty vague. Some clunky (and largely unnecessary) exposition gets spat out early on, which tried my patience a bit, but it gets fun as the plot gets rolling. And the plot is definitely the star of the film, not the largely forgettable cast of affluent, Southern California white people or the dialogue, which often feels improvised (in that it neither pushes the story forward nor reveals character, as good dialogue ought to).

Despite some genuinely terrifically creepy or suspenseful moments in the film, a handful of contrived plot points hold it back from being much more than a fun genre flick for me, but I found myself wondering what would happen next — almost up to the very end. A late turn in the film got more of an eye-roll from me than the shock that I think it was supposed register. As always, your mileage may vary, but the film’s merits make it well worth a viewing, particularly for science fiction fans suffering from blockbuster fatigue.

Here’s the trailer! If it piques your interest, please do check it out. It’s available for rent from Amazon Instant Video or for purchase from its official website, among other places. (I never recommend reading YouTube comments, but definitely on’t read the comments if you want to stay away from spoilers.)

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