Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Day 9: The Birthday

You ever have one of those horrible days where every little thing goes wrong and you feel like you’re totally out of sync with the world? Well, that’s the kind of day that Norman Forrester (Corey Feldman) is having in the stylish, quirky-as-hell 2004 film, The Birthday by Spanish director Eugenio Mira.

Norman Forrester is a nebbish man who is totally in love with his domineering, neglectful girlfriend, Alison Fulton (Erica Prior). This night being the first time he’s seen her since her trip to Europe, he has a special gift he wants to give her, but she’s so preoccupied with everything being perfect for her father’s birthday party, she never takes a spare moment to listen to Norman stammer his way through what he wants to say. Instead, she pushes him out of her hotel room and sends him downstairs to wait for her.

At the party, Norman is constantly pushed around by Alison’s highly eccentric family. While all of this is going on, the waitstaff are ominously going about their duties, pushing large boxes from room to room and “accidentally” keeping the hotel at a chilly temperature. After Norman suffers through a conversation about dolphins and pamphlets, he decides to leave for a bit and soon finds himself embroiled in some secret plot to foil a dangerous cult that’s trying to bring their evil god to life in the physical world.

Throughout the whole film, Feldman nervously stumbles from one bizarre situation to the next, all the while freaking out about how to stop the end of the world. He speaks in such a strange Jerry-Lewis-meets-NYC-Cabbie voice that no one ever listens to him. I have to say, I was actually impressed with Feldman in this movie. If only he could get some decent roles, maybe he could shed himself of that cheesy image from his youth. I don’t think doing a role in the new Lost Boys movie will help on that front.

The whole movie is stylishly done. The sets are brilliant and beautiful, rendered in a lush 50’s Hollywood style as only a great production designer could do. Everything was shot on a sound stage, so the camera is able to make these lovely tracking shots and the lighting is incredible. Even if you think the story is dumb, you could lose yourself in the look and feel of the film.

Unfortunately, Mira’s filmography is very, very brief. I’m really interested in seeing what he brings us in the future.

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