Saturday, October 24, 2009


Recently my parents were in town and we were headed to see Couples Retreat. I really didn't want to and joked that we ought to instead go see Moon. The reason this is a joke is because it appeared like these movies couldn't be more dissimilar. One is a big budget, vastly distributed and marketed, please-all comedy full of big stars. The other is a low budget, barely distributed, almost unheard of dramatic sci-fi movie person, Sam Rockwell. We arrive at the giant megaplex where couples retreat was playing and find that there are only a few seats left and they were practically buttressed against the screen itself. So, I brought up Moon again. We end up seeing Moon at one of my favorite movie houses in Portland, a place called Livingroom Theater, where it's never crowded, the seats are plush and have ottomans and waiters come in and serve you cold beer and good food on real plates, set with real silverware. Well, I'm pretty sure I can guess what Couples Retreat was like, but I was shocked by Moon. It was fantastic. Truly. Even my parents loved it, we all did. I say all this to point out the funny thing about movies and how they are marketed. One is clearly a better movie watching experience, yet most of the people who will ever read this review will never see it. The other is inferior and, even though we all know it won't have any surprises and very few memorable moments, most of us will most likely see it. Odd. Well, consider this my plea to skip the megaplex, find Moon and see it. This movie is sci-fi, but in the old school sense. In other words, it's quiet and tense, instead of action-packed and overbrimming with special effects. Moon may be low budget, but it's absolutely beautiful. Clearly every penny was well spent and in the hands of artists who knew how to use them. The acting is good too, but not over the top. Rockwell's performance was just natural, it seemed like he simply was who he was. And the story was great. Here's the basic story to get you interested, but, unfortunately, I can't tell you more without lessening the experience for you. A few decades from now America's discovered that the minerals of the moon are fuel rich, so, of course, we've begun harvesting them. Sound crazy? Well, don't think that, Bush actually proposed this in a speech about 6 years ago. Anyway, machines do the majority of the work, but someone has to be there to do repairs when needed and to send the fuel canisters back to Earth once they're full. But the moon is hostile and very very far away, so one person goes there and stays there for several years per stretch, when his or her replacement comes for a sort of shift change. Moon picks up during the last two weeks of Sam Bell's stint and, well, he's kind of losing it. Just when he thinks he's not going to crack, that he's going to make it out just fine, things get really really weird. See this movie. It is tense, interesting and never stalls for even a second, despite the fact that it's only one person on the screen for like 98% of the movie. This is a rare one and shouldn't be missed.


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