Archive for April, 2006

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Stay and The Jacket

April 28, 2006

After reading IMDB message boards as I often do after I watched movies, I found other people had theories for The Jacket that are similar to Stay.  They propose that Jack had really died in Iraq, and the entire movie is just his brain cells dying and making up a world where he goes back to the US, gets put in an asylum and travels through time.  I'm told this is also the plot in Jacob's Ladder, with a soldier in Vietnam living the movie through his last instant as he lay dying from a stab wound.  I haven't seen Jacob's Ladder but put it in my queue to see if the plots are similar.

Now it seems to me that if The Jacket was a dying hallucination, I would have gotten it the first time I watched it.  I like to think of myself as a person who "gets" movies, although certainly there are smaller symbols and meanings that I tend to miss the first time around and notice later on.  12 Monkeys and Stay both benefit from multiple viewings. 

The problem with The Jacket being a dying hallucination is that I don't think people would have gotten that out of the movie without watching Jacob's Ladder first.  The idea planted from Jacob's Ladder might easily transfer over, because they are both soldiers wounded in the field that could dream of a life back home.  But I think if The Jacket would have been such a dream or hallucination, there would have been more repetitious characters.  In "The Wizard of Oz" all the characters from Oz were just transformations of the real life characters.  The same goes for the children's dad in "Peter Pan" turning into Captain Hook, and the people surrounding Henry's body on the bridge appearing in his dying dream in Stay.  Either it's the author's way of really cementing the idea that YES this is just a dream, or people honestly believe that everything we dream is rooted in our lives somehow.  To be honest, it is rare for me to dream of people I have never seen before, but it does happen.

So why do I like Stay so much and The Jacket so little?  I guess for me the difference is style.  By the end in Stay, where they are on the bridge, right before Henry goes back to reality, it's so beautiful.  It's one of the most beautiful and memorable images I've ever seen with a movie.  With the Jacket, there is very little style in the movie.  It doesn't move you, trick you, make you feel like reality is all fucked up.

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The Jacket

April 28, 2006

I usually watch any film involving time travel or crazy people.  I thought The Jacket would be good because it features both.  Unfortunately it was a moderately interesting idea that was very poorly executed. 

The film doesn't start to feel like anything more than poorly edited crap until about halfway into it, when Jack makes his first jump into 2007.  At that point we finally start to see a plot, or at least an idea that is intreguing.

The film then creates a kind of paradox, with information having its only origin from the time travel experience, which is never really explained.  Who was the first person to come up with the idea that the boy should be shocked?

When Jack came back into the past why didn't he try to prove his innocence by provide the names of Jackie and her mother?  Why didn't he provide his newly remembered memories of how the policeman was shot?  Why did we even see these clips if they had no effect on the plot? 

At the end Jack went out like a bitch, just like Queen Amidala in Star Wars.  What a way to die, slipping on the ice. 

How much time do we have?  Yep, people die a lot, and it's all meaningless.  But at least make it an enjoyable experience of a movie please.

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Les Enfants du Paradis

April 28, 2006

Ok, I finally watched this movie that was supposed to be the greatest of all time.  Am I impressed?  Yes.  Is it one of my favorites?  Probably not.

The acting was amazing in the movie.  Just something odd about actors playing actors… but it worked.  The sets were wonderful and glamorous.  It was such a wonderful and extra-ordinary world.  I kept thinking to myself, I wonder what era this movie is supposed to be set in.  But it really doesn't matter.  That world exists only in that movie.

The length is a bit long but unfortunately it's rare to watch movies without pausing now.  Too much baby stuff.  But the length seemed appropriate for the length and depth of the story.

The characters were very well written and acted.  I was entranced by every single one of them, especially the con man and Baptiste.  Normally I hate mimes and would mock something like that, but every motion and expression was just mesmorizing. 

And the ending was just so … true.  Life goes on, tragedy happens and the world just keeps turning.  Rather depressing but it makes you realize how fake movie endings usually are. 

I really liked everything about this movie but for some reason it just really didn't touch me the way I thought it might.  I don't know if it's something I would repeatedly watch but I think it deserves another viewing later on.  Maybe I was just too "young" for it yet.

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Gia

April 24, 2006

There are many movies devoted to those who "lived fast and died young".  Nothing seems more tragic that those who could have had the world but instead got lost in a mess of drugs and sex.  Gia follows this route as well, but with so many movies already having travelled this path it's certainly nothing groundbreaking.

Gia played by Angelina Jolie was suprisingly unsexy and unattractive.  Maybe that was the point, to show the ravages of drug use.  But I would have cast a younger, more innocent looking girl for at least the beginning of the movie.  There was no real transformation for Gia as a character.  When we go to the movies we want to see dynamic changes in the lead.  But Gia just went from grubby and needy to even more grubby and needy.

I was suprisingly unmoved by the movie.  A movie like "Requiem for a Dream" has driven me to tears with it's portrayal of how drug use can ruin lives.  But with Gia, I had a hard time feeling for her.  In the end all I could think was "Wow, she really fucked up."

I'm not a person that normal feels any sort of empathy towards others.  This is why good movies are so rare and amazing to me, because they make me care.

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Netflix and Les Enfants du Paradis

April 22, 2006

First off Netflix calls it "Children of Paradise" which goes against my tendancy to refer to movies by their native titles.  They don't seem to have any consistancy either, since a number of other films are listed under their native language titles.

Two days ago I recieved disc 1 of the movie.  Other 2 disc movies they either sent both discs at once (The Unbearable Lightness of Being) or they only sent the 1 disc with the movie on it, and didn't bother with the "extras" disc.  But in this case it was only the first half of the movie.  I found I wasn't even expected to recieve the second disc for another 2 days.  It's blasphemy for me to not watch a movie in it's entirety, and I take my movie watching very seriously.  I sent and email of complaint, and they responded that it was two seperate movies.  I sent them another email explaining that no, it was just one long movie, and they sent me an apology.  I don't think it got me anywhere though because I still don't have both discs and they didn't give me a 3rd movie for my queue.

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Movies we have, and ones I would like to get

April 21, 2006

We have a comparatively small DVD collection.  Buying movies is incredibly rare for us.  Usually the movies we buy fall into 3 categories: rarity (would we be able to see it on TV or rent it easily), rewatchablility (and I rarely watch movies more than once) and buying a movie because it deserves to be bought.  Most of the DVDs we currently have were bought by my husband before we even met, but luckily we have similar taste in movies.  The main difference between us is I watch anything, whereas he only watches "good" movies (which there don't seem to be too many of).

So here's a list of all the movies we currently own: What Dreams May Come, Natural Born Killers, Titus, Metropolis, Maborosi, Kids, A. I. Artificial Intellegence, Eraserhead, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Trainspotting, Eyes Wide Shut, Donnie Darko, A Clockwork Orange, Bladerunner, The Cell, Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, Fando & Lis, Requiem for a Dream, Ghost in the Shell, Beauty and the Beast, Princess Mononoke, Salo, Fantasia 2000, Meet Joe Black, The Cook, the Thief, the Wife and her Lover, The Star Wars Trilogy (IV-VI), The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, 12 Monkeys, and The Shining.

I would like to get Stay because it deserves to be bought, The Last Unicorn because it is a part of my childhood, and Pirates of the Carribean because I love pirates, I love Johnny Depp and I think I would watch it quite a few more times.

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Mean Creek and Deliverance

April 20, 2006

 All my movie reviews will contain spoilers.

I watched Mean Creek yesterday.  It's not the type of film I would typically get excited about, but I'll watch just about anything.  My Netflix queue was getting bare bones before I went through the 101 screenplays list so I pretty much clicked on whatever Netflix recommended to me.

It's about some kids who go on a little boating trip to teach a bully a lesson and things go horribly wrong.  It starts out tame and quiet.  The scene where the bully beats up the kid wasn't particularly brutal or shocking.  Dialogue is typical of kids I guess.  It hasn't been so long since I was that age but I guess I don't remember talking like that.  Names weren't memorable enough to make them stick out in my mind and I'm not going to waste my time trying to figure out which one was which through IMDB.  Their ages seemed a bit odd though, I was trying to figure out which ones were in Middle School, which were in High School and I think at least one looked like he must have graduated years ago.  I know it's typical of movies to cast older people as kids, but when you're making a movie specifically to be a realistic portrayal of kids, then let them be kids.

 After they invite the bully on the boating trip the kids begin to change their minds.  They realize that not everyone is "good" or "bad", but people sometimes do good or bad things.  The behavior of the "friends" is a good example of this, how they hurt each other as much or more than the bully hurt the kid.  Then again, it's not always what you say, but how you say it.  The bully clearly didn't have the social skills to joke with people as opposed to make fun of them. 

 One of the kids sticks to his guns and goes through with the plan to humilate the bully anyway.  The other kids quickly join his side as the bully starts to piss them off with his social ineptitude.  It turns into a shouting match and the bully falls into the water.  He splashes around for a bit and then sinks.  Never shouts "I can't swim".  After he's gone for a bit one of the kids dives in after him but he can't be found.  Then he's seen floating near the bank.  The girl, who is just a symbol of purity I guess because she has no real personality otherwise, tries to recussitate him.  But the bully is dead and all the kids get upset. 

Now their reactions of being upset are reasonable but their decision to hide the body is not.  Any outsider would see that it was an accident, that the bully drowned, and they did try to save him.  Even as a kid I would be smart enough to pass off even purposeful things as accidents. So this is where the movie just starts to piss me off.

Later on in the evening they decide to go to the bully's mom to confess.  Ok, had I been these kids I would have gone to the police instead because it would be awful to have to tell a mom her kid was dead.  Were they trying to punish themselves for it further by adding to the pain? 

The kid that didn't want to turn himself in goes and robs a store and heads to Mexico.  Smart move, way to make yourself look innocent.

And then it ends with the bully's video about how no one understands him and if they could just see inside his brain… ok, by this time I stopped caring.  You know, in a lot of movies a scene like this would have made me get all teary-eyed.  But the bully was stupid.  The kids were stupid.  I just wanted to slap the lot of them.

The movie just ended with a scene of them digging up the bully's body with his mother watching.  WTF is that about anyway?  Any attempt by the filmmakers to make me care at this point is just a waste of my time. 

So then today I watched Deliverance.  I started with the Squeal like a Pig scene since my husband was leaving for work and wanted to see it.  Yep, that's the cultural moment of the year right there.

I think this film is only remembered for it's ability to make an entire generation fear hillbillies.  It's also the only major film I know of with an anal rape scene. 

I didn't really think this would be a film I'd ever see again, and I don't think it deserves to be on the top 101 screenplays list.  But the kind of films I like are the ones that make me feel things, whether it be horror, excitement, joy, sadness… and this film just made me laugh at hillbillies.  The only things I took away from it were "Squeal like a pig" and "He's got a purty mouth, aint he".