Posted by: brian | August 5, 2007

A day in the City

Yesterday Ben & I drove up to Minneapolis to see the movie Sunshine. (Naturally, it’s not playing in Rochester, because our local Cinemonopoly thinks it’s better to have two theaters (12 screens in one, 14 in the other) showing the exact same films.) I enjoyed the movie, on the whole. However, like most of the reviewers, I found the last act disappointing, and definitely not up to the standard of the first part.

==== SPOILER WARNING (highlight to view) ====
Introducing a crazed zombiesque monster to stalk and kill the crew during the last 25 or so minutes completely shifted the feel of the film. It began as more cerebrally and psychologically focused, drawing tension from the characters themselves and how they coped with decisions and obstacles. As act three began, it kept that feeling: five crew members remained – four conscious, one doped up and suicidal. To save oxygen and ensure they make complete the mission, do they kill the 5th guy? The grand question is, Is the fate of humanity worth ending his life now (thereby sacrificing your own “humanity”), knowing that you lack oxygen for the return to Earth, and you’ll all die anyway?

Suddenly, the captain of the previous mission (lost 7 years earlier) is on board, insane and intent on stopping the crew from rebooting the sun. He plans to kill them all to achieve his goal. Oh, and I should mention that apparently we can’t look directly at him, but we can see that he is covered head-to-toe in burnt, blistery skin. At this point the movie mimicked a simple slasher flick. Instead of focusing on how this crew was going to work through obstacles to accomplish their goal, we suddenly had to wonder who was going to be next to get hacked to death with an electric scalpel.

Personally, I think the role of crazed saboteur would have been more believable had it been given to Trey (the suicidal character). We still gain the added dimension of danger that a willful antagonist creates, but we don’t have to suspend disbelief to the degree that we accept unblinkingly that the captain of Icarus 1 hung out for 7 years without disturbing any of the dust that coated every surface of that ship.

What could have been a 9+ stumbled in the end to a 7ish.
==== END SPOILER ====

After the film we took a look through the Uptown Art Fair, under intermittent rain. We even got mini-donuts! Woot!

Then we headed for the Linden Hills Bibelot store to pick up some soap. (After getting lost in the Kenwood neighborhood. Yes, I know that Kenwood isn’t between Uptown and Linden Hills. I don’t want to talk about it.) They have this nice Orange-Ginger soap that smells like candy – or rather, they did have – we bought their entire stock. (We really like the soap!)

While we were there, Ben asked the clerk if she could recommend any good restaurants nearby, and she directed us to a place called Cafe Twenty-Eight. I strongly recommend this place to anyone looking for a great meal at prices only slightly above those of a dive like Applebee’s. Not only is this a nice locally-owned place, but they support local producers and businesses (their ground beef is ground at the butcher shop half a block away). The only downside was the handful of screaming brats, but I can overlook that when they serve their burger on a bun that might be mistaken for a croissant.

==== RANT ALERT ====
As we were leaving, we both thought that Linden Hills would be a nice neighborhood to live in. It’s funny when a place like Arbor Lakes (or Arbor Fakes, as some accurately name it) in Maple Grove claims to offer “a distinctive shopping experience” and “a home town atmosphere with uptown attitude.” In reality, it offers none of them. It’s a strip mall atmosphere, populated almost entirely by national chain retailers, and embedded in big box, auto-friendly parking lots with nearby shopping. Comparing it to the 43rd and Upton commercial district in Linden Hills makes its absurdity painfully obvious.
==== END RANT ====

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