September 29, 2008

Movie Monday: Ghost Town & Bottle Shock

Spoiler free, so read on!

Ghost Town: Justin and I managed to get out of the house the other day and see a movie. It was between 'Burn After Reading' and 'Ghost Town', and since we were having a tough week, we decided to go for the more blatant comedy of the two. We both really like Ricky Gervais, so it seemed like a good choice. And it was! We both really liked it. The basic plot of the movie is that Ricky Gervais is a snarky, persnickety dentist who ends up dying on the table briefly during a colonoscopy. After that experience, he starts to see dead people everywhere. Greg Kinnear's character starts following him around and asking him to help break up his widow and her new fiance.

Gervais was amazingly wonderful in this film. He plays the jerk dentist who doesn't care perfectly, but then as the movie progresses, so does his character as he starts to see what his life is and what it could be. I've always liked Tea Leoni, who play's Greg Kinnear's widow, and she and Gervais have a really great chemistry going in this movie. Also, Kinnear's nickname for the dentist, whose name is Bertram Pincus, is 'pink-ass', which cracked me up every time. It's a bit of a romantic comedy for the ladies, and a lot of funny stuff that will appeal to the guys. A great date movie for sure!

Bottle Shock: I've always found it really interesting how every industry or group has it's own little scandals. Watching King of Kong, the passion, backstabbing, and shock over the events of competing for the high score in Donkey Kong rocks the world of gamers. In the book The Emporer of Scent, we see how a controversial theory on how our noses smell rocks the scientific community and gets one man shunned. In Bottle Shock, we see how Napa Valley and it's wines came into their own with the Judgement of Paris wine tasting in 1976. I didn't know much about the movie before I went to see it, other than a basic idea of what it was about, and that it had Alan Rickman, who I basically love to pieces. I was pleasantly surprised to find during the credits that it also featured Freddy Rodriguez, who I've liked a lot since Six Feet Under.

I love seeing a story unfold and getting a taste of how drama plays out in a world that I'm not familiar with, like the world of wine. The story is brough to life by the portrayal of the struggling Chateau montelena where the owner is trying to create the perfect, clear Chardonnay while struggling in his relationship with his hippy drop-out son. Bill Pullman was great as a father trying to bring his dream to life through many disappointments and bank loan after bank loan. He's dealing with his son, who doesn't seem to have any idea of where he's going in life, but manages to prove by the end of the story that he has learned a lot from his father. Alan Rickman is absolutely brilliant as Steven Spurrier, the English man running a wine shop in Paris who comes up with the idea of pitting France against California in a blind tasting. He portrays the snob perfectly - a man who believes that France will reign supreme, but when the tables start to turn, he is surprised and quietly pleased at his discovery. Under it all, he wants to educate the world about wine, and educate himself about the wines of the world, and his opportunities are finally opening up.

I definitely recommend this movie. It's interesting because it's based on a true story - the blind tasting happened, and California won (and won again when Spurrier set up a 30 year anniversary tasting in 2006), but also touching because of the characters put in place - despite knowing the ending outcome, you find yourself rooting for the struggling winery and it's owners throughout the film.


Nap Warden said...

I loved Ghost Town!

Shana said...

Another Alan Rickman fan!! Whoo-hoo! I don't think he sucks in any movie! Loved him in Robin Hood, in all the Harry Potter movies (I don't think he's in those enough)...I know I've seen him in more than that, I just can't think of them off the top of my head...

Michelle said...

Well I guess Rob and I should go see this soon..