Tonight I saw two films. The first was Watching the Detectives, a quirky, wonderful comedy written and directed by Paul Soter (sitting on the left in the photo). It stars Cillian Murphy as a video store owner and movie enthusiast, and Lucy Liu (standing on the far right in the photo) as his eccentric love interest. I'm not even sure what to say about this film, because you should really just see it.
It's weird and adorable, and even though the characters are kind of off-the-wall, I never had the feeling (like I so often do with comedies described as "quirky") that the screenwriter was trying too hard, that the characters are all just a little too wacky and interesting. I think this is because their personalities are unusual, but at different volumes. Like real people. The mistake so many movies make is that everyone is equally weird. This film has some people that are mildly strange, some that seem interesting but very normal, and some that seem completely absurd. But they all interact like it's totally normal, and it seems somehow kind of realistic, at the same time that it's clearly a complete fantasy.
Since it was the premiere, Paul Soter and much of the cast were there to talk about the film and answer questions. Man, Lucy Liu is stunning! Some celebs not in the movie were also in attendance, including Ajay Naidu (Office Space) and Rachel Dratch.
I almost forgot to mention the second film I saw, Suburban Girl. I think the fact that I just saw it a couple hours ago and I've pretty much already forgotten about it kind of says it all. On the surface it's like a cross between Devil Wears Prada and Shopgirl, with more literary aspirations. On a deeper level, well, there is no deeper level. The chemistry between Alec Baldwin and Sarah Michelle Gellar alternates between not that interesting and kind of creepy. Even more than Baldwin's performance in last year's Mini's First Time, which I think was supposed to be creepy. (Alec Baldwin, you are hilarious, but please stop playing guys who are dating girls in their teens and early 20s!)
Plus, I think it's going to be hard for people to put aside what's going on in Baldwin's personal life at the moment. His character in the film has some similar issues with his daughter, which, in the screening I saw, resulted in a lot of laughter at scenes which were definitely not meant to be funny.