Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I just booked my flight for this year's film festival. I'm officially giddy. I paid for it with frequent flier miles, which is nice, though I still had to pay $48.94 in fees. Anyway, my B&B room is booked (I hope they leave the right key this time), and I've got an airline ticket. All that's left is to buy my festival tickets and spend torturous hours sifting through 350 movie synopses. And wait for 179 days.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Review: Juno

Okay, it seems like forever since a couple friends and I headed down to the Fleur Cinemas to catch Juno, which at the time was the new surprise independent hit. We got there to find a line out the door and around the corner. We got sneaky and sent in a squatter to grab a few seats while two of us stayed behind to deal with the mundane "purchasing of the tickets".

Juno was directed by Jason Reitman, who previously had a handful of shorts and Thank You For Smoking in his list of directorial credit. For Juno, Jason racked up a killer cast including Ellen Page (remember her?), Michael Cera of Superbad fame, "the beautiful" Jennifer Garner (yes, she is, but has anyone else noticed how she's always introduced as "the beautiful" Jennifer Garner, like Jennifer is her middle name?), teen heart throb (okay, he's 39 now) Jason Bateman, Allison Janney (of many credits including American Beauty and The West Wing) and J.K. Simmons (think J Jonah Jameson). Spoiler alert (okay, real life, not the movie plot) -- Diablo Cody, an ex-stripper, wins best original screenplay for this one. Ellen Page loses to some French chick. Sadly, I didn't see it at the 2007 film festival, though I did have to wait behind a crowd of gawkers when Jason Bateman and Ellen Page exited the theatre.

Juno is the tale of a unusual high school girl who decides one day, out of boredom, to have sex with her friend Paulie Bleeker. Paulie is a nerd, and Juno is that girl that all the guys secretly have a crush on but won't admit it because she's weird. Apparently, they're both quite fertile, and after running through a dozen or so pregnancy tests, Juno is at last resigned to the fact that she's pregnant.

Her adventures over the next seven or eight months take her out to meet fellow classmate Su-Chin, who spends her weekends protesting in broken English outside an abortion clinic, through the halls of of her high school as "a cautionary whale", to her parents, who were maybe hoping for the easier-to-deal-with drug problem, and a troubled young couple hoping to adopt a healthy baby.

The script is smart and filled with wit, angst, bitterness, broken dreams, hope, and chair sex. Oh, there's nothing explicit here. Juno is something like 16 and though Ellen was at least 19 when the film was made, she does an astounding job of playing a 16 year old and that would be just a bit much. The film stays safely in the implied sort of PG-13 sex.

A short note to the "my parents would never act like that, this is so unrealistic" crowd: It's a movie, it's about people that are different than you. Get over it. And no, it is not encouraging teen pregnancy. But I also think that it rightly points out that it is also not the end of the world, and that life can go on normally, as it almost always does. Boy, we're resilient creatures.

In conclusion, happy happy joy joy, I liked the film. It's intelligent, entertaining, deals with complex issues while not getting bogged down in its own seriousness. And it was a nicely upbeat contrast to the more downer films of the season. My imdb rating: 8/10.