I started my Saturday by heading up to my brother’s place, where I got some positive news and some annoying news.  The positive part was that my brother DID remember to bring the donation bags downstairs for the Salvation Army to pick up, and so now the apartment is roomier.  The annoying news was when I asked him on my way out what he thought of the chili I’d brought over two weeks ago (I’m trying to supplement his frozen dinners with SOMETHING homemade), and he said that he hadn’t actually tried it yet.  So I said that it had gone bad already, so he needed to throw the food out and we’d pick up the container the next time we visited.  Sheesh!

Then from there I took the express bus to the Upper East Side to go see Begin Again, which I was curious to see because Keira Knightley was supposed to be a surprisingly good singer, because I like Mark Ruffalo as an actor, and because (this could be the primary reason, but I would be much too embarrassed to admit that if it was true) I wanted to see how Adam Levine (from Maroon 5 and The Voice) did as an actor.

Begin Again

It turned out to be a very good movie but not a great movie.  Adam Levine is a good actor, Keira Knightley is a really good singer (seriously, if the acting thing fell through she could have a backup career), and Mark Ruffalo was very good as always.  The highlight of the movie is the music itself, which means that if you like the music you’ll be swept away by it, but if you DON’T like the music you’ll be all, “Wait … didn’t I just hear this?  Why am I listening to it AGAIN?”  There is a lot of heart in this movie, plus a level of sweetness that feels like a throwback to the days of old-time musicals when a great song could … you know … change lives.  Fix things.  Make people see the truth in a way that regular words could not.

Then from there I went to grab a quick lunch at Papaya King ….

Papaya King

and then I went shopping at Eli’s Manhattan for lots of great food, including more of that superlative Jeni’s Ice Cream (yes, I went on their website to find out where they sold it in NYC.  I planned ahead!)

Elis Manhattan Stuff

Then I went home and finished reading Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, which I highly recommend if you’re into smart, funny, weird books about sexuality and giant grasshoppers.  Not necessarily in that order.

And THEN I went back to midtown to see Deliver Us From Evil, which I’d wanted to see because I was familiar with several of the Bronx locations where they’d filmed, and because I wanted to see how Joel McHale did in a serious role.  Yeah, I see movies for weird reasons sometimes.  FWIW, since I knew that this was going to be a demonic possession / exorcism movie that was at least somewhat derivative of its cinematic predecessors, I FINALLY saw The Exorcist two weeks ago in preparation for this movie.

McHale and Bana

Anyway, Joel McHale was suitably cool and tough.  His character doesn’t have a lot of depth, but one of the few dimensions he has is (of course) the Wisecracking Cop.  Oh, and according to IMDB he did most of his own knife stunts, so hooray for him!  Eric Bana is all moody and brooding and pissed off, to the extent that it felt like the producers told him he would get a bonus check every time he got this look in his eye like he wanted to strangle someone.  Note to self: Don’t hang out with Eric Bana unless he’s in a good mood, because otherwise … look out!

Other than that, most of the other characters were there on screen to revolve around Bana and McHale — the victims, the comic relief, the possessed people, the things that leap out at other things to try to make you spill your popcorn on the theater floor … Oh, but then there was the priest.  Edgar Ramirez plays the coolest, hippest, sexiest Jesuit you’ve ever seen.  This is so NOT your mother’s Exorcist!

Von SydowMendoza (EDGAR RAMIREZ)  in Screen Gems' DELIVER US FROM EVIL.

He drinks!  He smokes!  He has stylishly tousled hair (and, for that matter, uses stylish hair care products)!  He’s not a saint, he’s a REAL MAN who has done REALLY MANLY THINGS in his life!

Anyway, so … um … he was pretty hot.  Just sayin’.

A lot of the movie is fairly predictable, with the horror movie tropes being thrown at the audience in rapid succession.  WILL the lights flicker ominously and then go out?  WILL something leap out of the darkness, startling our heroes and, more importantly, us?  WILL the jack-in-the-box hold an unwelcome surprise?  [Seriously, though.  Between movies and TV, I’ve become scared to death of those damned things.  Who would ever buy one anymore?]  WILL the innocent and pretty people be victimized so that our heroes will have an extra-personal stake in rescuing them from evil?  WILL the evil stuff get progressively more evil and … um … GROSS as the movie goes along?

That being said, I enjoyed a lot of things about this movie, both the stuff I expected and the things that set this movie apart.  I liked the Bronx settings, especially the streets and buildings I recognized (lots of Belmont and Kingsbridge stuff, and hey, the Bronx Zoo!)  I liked the immigrant family talking to the police through their little kid.  I liked watching this movie while surrounded by a large audience on a Saturday night, when I could be surrounded by a crowd of people who were all laughing, then jumping, and then laughing at the same time.  And … did I mention that priest was pretty hot?

So, all of that was my outside day yesterday.  Today I’ll be catching up on mostly indoor stuff (paperwork, laundry, email, packing, etc.) but I’ll take breaks once in a while to go for a walk before coming back and buckling down to my chores again.

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