Monday, October 25, 2010

"The Social Network" - in theaters

Jesse Eisenberg certainly plays one hell of a nerd.

In "The Social Network", he plays Mark Zuckerburg, better known as the creator of Facebook. The movie, based on the book "The Accidental Billionaires" follows how Facebook started off as nothing more than an idea.

What I enjoyed about this film was that it wasn't straightforward. The story is told through the depositions of two separate, but concurrent lawsuits that were filed against Zuckerburg by Eduardo Saverin (Mark's best friend, played by Andrew Garfield), and the Winklevoss twins. The Winklevosses (or Winklevi, as they are referred to by Zuckerberg) are accusing Mark of stealing their idea, because during their time at Harvard, they had approached Mark with an idea for starting a site called Harvard Connection. This site would have had the same rudimentary features as Facebook, but it was only for the elite email address. While Mark kept postponing the work on the Winklevoss site, he created Facebook.

Saverin had a much better case against Zuckerberg, as he was pretty much screwed out of his share of the company. He was the first CFO, Mark's only friend, and the first financial backer that Facebook had. But for some reason, Mark fell under the spell of Sean Parker (played by Justin Timberlake), and Parker never seemed to care for Saverin. Needless to say, Parker got his way, and Saverin got worked over.

The real Mark Zuckerburg has publicly denounced the movie, saying that he didn't create it to get back at some girl, but really, who cares? Movies, whether we like it or not, are for our entertainment, and this movie, with it's tense soundtrack and even more intense performances is very entertaining.

I think it will be interesting to watch Andrew Garfield over the next couple of years. He has a lot of poise and class, and I hope that good things come out of it for him.

The Winklevi, played by Armie Hammer, were found to be unsympathetic. They were the golden boys - on the varsity Crew team, coming from money, perfect looks - and the reason for their lawsuit seemed petty. Zuckerberg pretty much nails them in the deposition, and for that scene alone, I think Jesse Eisenberg should be nominated for an Oscar.

I couldn't stand Sean Parker, which is I think how he was supposed to come off. He represented the cool guy that Zuckerberg wanted to be, but wasn't, so he was happy to just bask in his shadow. Timberlake did a pretty nice job, and it's nice to see him get recognized for his performance.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 9. It's the generation of the Nerd and this movie just proves that they're here to stay. It just makes me wish that I had taken more computer classes in undergrad...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"It's Kind of a Funny Story" - in theaters

The previews for this film really set it up as a comedy. Some over-stressed kid checks himself into a psychiatric facility for a few days and meets a cast of characters that includes Zack Galifianakis and the lovely Emma Roberts.

That's not really the case.

The story centers around Craig (Keir Gilchrist), an overachieving high school student with his fair share of problems: pressure from his father, asshole-ish friends, unrequited love, and a tendency towards depression. He has dreams of jumping off a bridge, and finally, one Sunday morning, he decides to do something about it by checking himself into a hospital. He is reluctantly admitted by the hospital staff, and by the time they tell him that not only is the teen ward under construction but that he will be sharing a room with an Egyptian man who hasn't left said room in 2 months, he's all ready to get out of there. Unfortunately they have to keep him for 5 days, so Craig prepares himself for the worst.

What happens is that he meets Bobby (Zack Galifianakis), who takes him under his wing by showing him around and introducing him to some people. Bobby is more concerned about Craig's welfare than his own at points, and Galifianakis is so understated that it's incredible. Gone is the wild guy from "The Hangover"; rather, he is presented here as a legitimate, controlled actor. It was great to see him in this type of role. And guess what? He's still funny!

Craig also meets Noelle (Emma Roberts) a teen whose been there for 21 days for cutting. He notices her right off, but is hesitant because he still feels that he has the hots for his best friend's girlfriend, Nia (Zoe Kravitz). But of course, you find out that Nia pretty much blows, as does his best friend, Aaron (Thomas Mann), and that the people that he's meeting in the psych ward are more authentic than he could have ever hoped.

Viola Davis plays Craig's therapist, and to be honest, she didn't bring much to her character. I agree with Entertainment Weekly's conclusion in that a lesser known actor should have been brought in to add some zest to the role.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 7. It's very funny in some places, and heartwarming in others. It also makes me wonder if a psych ward isn't such a bad idea for a vacation spot to gain some perspective on life. I'm just sayin'...