i woke up sometime past 11am and got ready to go over to elias' place for his 24-hour birthday movie marathon starting at noon. i went to star market to get some drinks and then stopped off at the falafel palace in central square before showing up at elias and amanda's place in cambridgeport. besides elias and amanda, amanda's friend mike was there and so was dan. garden state was already playing, i parked myself down in a chair with my lunch and started watching.

garden state (2004): i wasn't a fan of garden state the first time i saw it and watching it a second time i'm still not a fan. i think it's one of those movies that either you really like or you really hate. for some reason i keep on calling it "the ocean state." i thought the story was a bit pointless and i didn't care about any of the characters. there were funny bits here and there (the banter in the waiting room, the confrontation with the knight in klingon, just to name a few) but zach braff's andrew largeman is such a mopey downer, it sort of ruined the good times for me. everytime i see natalie portman i think she's a child running around in an adult world: she tends to play these girls who are wise beyond their age. only in the movies can a character like her fall for a guy like largeman... although that doesn't explain how zach braff can be engaged to mandy moore in real life.

the draughtsman's contract (1982): sort of a ribald masterpiece theatre, about a noblewoman who agrees to pay a smug artist with sex for several special drawings of her husband's estate while he's out of town for 2 weeks. the language is very hard to understand (noble-ese) but once in a while i'd catch something course and naughty being said.

everything is illuminated (2005): i still can't get over elijah wood as the cannibalistic serial killer kevin in sin city, and his character in this movie very much resembles that other character. this is a holocaust drama but it still has some laughs, mainly from the ukrainian translator who likes "negroes" and being carnal with ladies. actually, he should be on the posters instead of elijah wood.

fire down below (1997): sounds like a porno but it's really a steven seagal vehicle with an environment-friendly message which coincided with earth day (today). dare i say it? probably the best movie of the night in terms of inadvertent comedy and audience participation/feedback, we also had the most number of people by then, somewhere around 10. elias provided us with the official steven seagal energy drink called "lightning bolt" (we had the blue asian experience flavor, made of all-natural ingredients like goji berries, cordyceps, and guarana). seagal plays a carpenter slash EPA agent who arrives in a small appalachia town investigating reports of toxic waste being dumped into some abandoned coal mines. the local folks are charmed by this mysterious handyman who never fails to impress with a wardrobe of colorful leather trenchcoats (for that sporty yet sophisticated look). in the handful of fight scenes (seagal always goes up against impossible odds) no one ever lays a hand on seagal yet he's able to dispatch everyone with the greatest of ease. perhaps the title of the movie is in reference to his fighting style though: call me old-fashion, but the good guy never hits anyone in the balls (seagal doesn't seem to adhere to this rule in this movie, groin punching with reckless abandon). marg helgenberger plays the love interest - obviously slumming in her pre-CSI days. kris kristofferson plays the boss, with cameos by other country music talent like randy travis and travis tritt.

the other (1972): not to be confused with the others (2001), that nicole kidman WWII era ghost story. set in an idyllic small town, the story revolves around twin boys, one good, one evil (tell me a set of twins where this isn't true). the pacing of the movie is really slow and everything has a little house of the prairie vibe but the ending is worth the price of admission when the evil twin steals a baby. a young john ritter has a cameo and diana muldaur plays the mom who becomes the victim of a tragic accident when she discovers the truth about her boys. star trek fans will also know muldaur as doctor miranda jones and doctor ann mulhall in ST:TOS and doctor pulaski in ST:TNG.

gattaca (1997): one of the top 10 best scifi movies on my list (bladerunner, dune, 2001, to name a few others). this movie really makes you think and has an uplifting message for all underdogs. no one plays smarmy better than jude law, he's the 21st century james spader. unfortunately now when i watch the movie i can't help but to be reminded of the uma thurman-ethan hawke train wreck that would come later on.

the prophecy (1995): i've always raved about the prophecy but this time around i don't think it's as good as i remembered it. the premise is still cool though, about warring angels in a centuries-long feud who use earth as their battleground - kind of reminded me of highlander (1986).

cyborg 2 (1993): one of angelina jolie's first starring role, you can see she's not yet polished and still has some baby fat left in her cheeks. the film itself is pretty crappy and has straight-to-video written all over it. nevertheless, jack palance has a supporting role as a mysterious "man inside the box" mercy (think max headroom) who helps cyborg cash (jolie) and sparring partner colt (elias koteas) escape from the corporate compound where they intend to transform cash into a sex bomb (literally). the finale is jaw-droppingly surreal: mercy turns out to be a cyborg himself (look! he wears a leg brace! CYBORG) and has a no-holds-barred shootout with a gang of bad guys all the while dressed in a cosby sweater, i kid you not.

a history of violence (2005): when i first saw this film i had mixed opinions about it (good beginning, weak ending) but one thing i loved was the violence: the shootout in the cafe, the beatdown in the school, the showdown on the front lawn, and the clean-up in the mobster's mansion.

there were three other movies left to screen: a fish called wanda, zero effect, and the iron giant - but after 18 hours (actually just 17, we were ahead of schedule) i was ready to split. not that i couldn't stay up 24 hours watching movies, but the last three films didn't really interest me, and i didn't want to be sleeping all of sunday because i'd stayed up all of saturday, so i left. by then it was just elias and dan left.

just got back from the 24-hour movie marathon, lasted 18 hours. it was raining but 5am in the morning there's hardly any traffic so i made it safely home from cambridgeport. movies i watched today: garden state (that dude is engaged to mandy moore? no way), the draughtsman's contract (tale of ribaldry), everything is illuminated, fire down below (a steven seagal earth day tribute set in the appalachia), the other (evil twins), gattaca (classic top 10 best scifi film easily), prophecy (christopher walken as archangel gabriel), cyborg 2 (the one with angelina jolie as a cyborg timebomb), and history of violence (go viggo!). summaries will be forthcoming while i go to bed...