Starring Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, Jack Slattery and Terence Stamp
David Norris: If I'm not supposed to be with her, why do I feel this way?
If you knew that being with you meant that the person you love would never realize his or her dreams, would you walk away from them?If you wanted to, would you even be capable?As interesting a question as it is, it is the kind of question that hardly anything good can come from.If you want to stay, you’re selfish.If you want to go, then you don’t think love matters as much as success does.Regardless of your decision, you won’t be happy either way, but I suppose it got you thinking and that alone has its own value these days.Take that question and throw it into the central story of a movie though and you might have yourself with a pretty compelling drama.Or you might find yourself fully dismayed and just watching THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU.
Matt Damon, whose film choices as of late have all fell flat for me, plays David Norris, the youngest Congressman in American history, in George Nolfi’s directorial debut.Nolfi and Damon last worked together on THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, which Nolfi wrote and Damon starred in.Sadly, their relationship did not end there and, if I am meant to take anything away from their latest collaboration, it would be that it was obviously not meant to.The men who work at this particular bureau all wear snazzy hats and sharp suits but they might as well be wearing sparkly fairy dresses covered in pixie dust, given what their jobs are.These men, who may or may not in fact be angels, are making sure every day that the plan in place for every person on the planet is carried out properly.To do this, they must meddle with humanity as inconspicuously as possible.These are the guys who hide your keys in the morning or spill coffee on your clean shirt so that you leave the house five minutes later and either miss or catch the moment you were intended to.And see, I always thought that was the work of garden gnomes.
Damon meets Emily Blunt’s Elise in a bathroom.The seemingly chance encounter was not at all what it seemed and the two hit it off splendidly.Suddenly though, she must flee, and unlike Cinderella, she leaves neither her name nor her slipper behind.That was supposed to be the end of it, or at least according to the plan it was.The kiss they shared was too good to be forgotten though and neither can get the other out of their heads.The bureau simply cannot have this; it is not in the plan.And so the men in suits and hats do everything in their power to keep these two lovebirds apart.They point their fingers at peoples’ phones and messages appear or they flash a look in another direction and cabs go off duty.I half expected them to start wiggling their noses and disappearing in clouds of smoke at one point.They do all this to prevent Damon and Blunt from having a moment that might lead to a kiss, for a real kiss could alter their universes forever.As laughable and trivial as that sounds, it actually happens in the movie.
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU clearly wants to come off as cool but really only comes off as trying too hard.Nolfi’s direction is sorely uneven but with such a weak script, it could not have been easy to make the actors sound convincing.Granted, he wrote the script as well so blaming the writer is just more blame on him.Nolfi strives to get the viewer lost in the perilous divide between fate and chance, all the while trying to figure where free will fits in to the mix.All he does is pose the question though without drawing any actual conclusions.If we actually have free will, I suggest you exercise it and avoid this movie.If our fates are already decided though, I hope you, like me, were not just meant to suffer through this movie.
Horror fans have a unique way of celebrating Valentine's Day. For a classic example, look no further than the series of Zombie Love Songs that recently were shared here in the Vault. We just have to inject a bit of gallow's humor to make it palatable, and that's more than okay with me.
Another case in point would be the recent event held at the Sugartown Vintage Boutique in idyllic Saugerties, New York, which I was honored to be a part of a couple weeks ago. I got to parade around in some outlandish Mr. Ferley-esque and Henry Hill-ish duds, which was certainly a blast. But at the center of the festivities was the ghastly and gorgeous Captain Cruella, who graced the store with her presence for the purpose of a zombified makeup demonstration. The event was called, appropriately enough, "Eat Your Heart Out".
"I was looking for away I could pool my talents and the talents of Captain Cruella to bring attention to the store, to bring people into the store," said Ashley Drewes, owner and proprietor of Sugartown. "She's a fantastic makeup artist, so I thought it would be really great to have a glamorous event where she demonstrated her makeup, and also an opportunity for people to try on vintage clothing, and have a professional photographer come in and take photos. I thought that was a perfect way to introduce people to the store."
The photographer of whom Ashley speaks is none other than the enormously talented J.D. Fielding, who was on hand to chronicle the festivities for posterity, and of course capture me looking like a 1970s street-level gangster. J.D.'s keen eye certainly brought out the life in what was going on, which might be ironic considering it was a member of the undead who was the center of attention.
Using makeup samples kindly donated by the edgy cosmetics company RockABetty Beauty, Cruella got her claws on an assortment of mortals, treating each to her own unique sense of style in the form of a makeup makeover. In honor of the event, the Captain was less... zombie-like...choosing instead to appear more human than most have ever seen her. It's enough to make some speculate that the good Captain might be toning down her ghoulish ways in favor of a more glam look. But Ashley assures us this is not the case.
"I think she's always had a little bit of pin-up in her, or busting out of her," she says. "So I don't necessarily think that I'm moving her away from that. She did come out today wearing one of her zombie contact lenses [Ed. note: It's a contact lens??], so she's still a little creepy. She's still dressed in black, and she still brings the dark and gothic, but she's also sexy and beautiful, which is part of her persona. And I don't think that's going to change."
As all this went on, patrons of the store got to sample some the amazing vintage items on hand. I will say I certainly got carried away in the proceedings, busting out some seriously groovy threads. It was a lot of fun, and a testament both to what a cool establishment Sugartown is, and also what a fascinating town Saugerties is.
"I want people to know that this is a really fun place, where no matter who you are, you can find something really unique and gorgeous to wear any day of the week, or at special occasions," said Ashley. "It can also be a really thoughtful gift for someone else." "Eat Your Heart Out" was a smashing success thanks to the efforts of Ashley and Cruella, and Sugartown is fast becoming one of the highlights of downtown Saugerties. In fact, I'm proud to announce that I will actually be returning there in just a few weeks to do a public reading. It's called Visions from the Vault: The Dark Poetry of H.P. Lovecraft, and it all happens on Saturday, April 9. Check back right here in the Vault for more information as the date approaches...