Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Only the tenth movie of the year so far… I’m always a little slow during this season. I finally got to the budget theater to see Eragon, which has been on my must-see list for quite awhile (solely due to the presence of Jeremy Irons in the movie, of course). This movie got shit-tastic reviews, but wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. It’s a children’s movie first and foremost, and is plenty entertaining when that is kept in mind. I did lose a bit of interest after Jeremy Iron’s character departs from the action, but I have to admit the battle scenes were actually exciting.
Interestingly enough, a family behind me was so enthusiastic about the movie that they told the ticket-taker they wanted to see it again, and he told them to just wait until the theater was cleaned and go back in. Nice to know that you don’t have to sneak around for multiple viewings there (as long as you’re seeing the same movie, I guess). Talk about a family after my own heart – even if they’re misguided about wanting to see Eragon twice in a row, which isn’t really necessary – how fun to have a kid who’s excited enough about a movie to sit through it twice!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Movies: Stop being so freaky.

Movie #-1, Pan's Labyrinth

Oh, hey look! To the left you will see the one image in this entire film that isn't absolutely horrifying or disgusting! Never mind the fact that in this moment, little Ofelia was being chased down a hallway by a murderous monster with eyeballs in his palms!

OK, I exaggerate a bit. There were certainly more moments than this that were beautiful and sweet. I think I remember three. But the vast majority of this film gave me the creeps. Nasty slithering, slobbering, grasping things. Brutal violence. Bugs everywhere! This is a film that I appreciate and respect, but I never want to see it again.

Movie #1, Animation Show 3

We saw this with a pile of smelly hippies and desperately earnest undergrads, so the films themselves had to overcome a lot from the outset. Some of them succeeded, some not so much. Don Hertzfeldt's "Everything Will Be OK" was of course a standout, as was Bill Plympton's "Guide Dog." "Rabbit" (shown above) was really clever, but did go on a little long for my taste. Some of the others felt like good attempts that just didn't work on a story level. It got me wondering about the submission process and if this is really the best animation out there right now. Anyway, we did have fun and Bud even won a t-shirt due to his deep knowledge of the Beavis and Butthead oeuvre.

Reading Online

Book #2 - Candide, by Voltaire

Back when Maya was a desk jockey, she read hundreds of books. I don't have the luxury of kicking my heels up and openly reading a book while I sit at my desk, but I do openly surf the net. So I've finally combined the two! Candide was my first online reading experience, and I've got mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, being able to read something during my downtime (once I'm through all the blogs, and celeb and TV gossip sites, of course) is pretty sweet. But it feels wrong to read a book on a screen instead of a page. And with this one, the site I used didn't list the translator so I couldn't figure out if it was the best option.

Anyway, it's a classic, yadda yadda. And it is pretty funny and over the top and whatnot, but like I said, the translation wasn't great, which hurt my enjoyment of it.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Music and Lyrics

I went out for Indian food and movie day with my friend Patty. We were debating various films, including Breaking and Entering, The Lives of Others (both of which were at Toronto), and The Painted Veil. Then we thought about seeing the Oscar Shorts programs at the Music Box (they show both the live-action shorts and the animated shorts that are nominated for Oscars, and I never end up going). To make a long story short, we ended up seeing Music and Lyrics. It kind of sucked, but was diverting enough not to make me complain very much. I find Hugh Grant likeable, and Drew Barrymore is OK too. There wasn’t a lot of chemistry between the two, which was one major problem with the movie. The two leads seemed to get along very well, but more in a chummy sort of way. The best parts dealt with Hugh Grant’s 80s has-been status and his day gigs at amusement parks. The less-interesting parts were the chick flick parts, of course… like the part where two people spend less than one week together, and sleep together only once, but somehow still merit a long, drawn-out conclusion. Huh? When was the last time you dated someone for less than a week but were so torn up about it?

Monday, February 12, 2007

“Feminist” Movie Day

I watched That Obscure Object of Desire the other night (Luis Bunuel’s last film) and started thinking about feminist film interpretation again. This movie is an undeniable classic, and contains multiple layers of possible truths that can be picked apart for days on end, but no matter how you approach it, the film is completely encompassed within a male frame of reference. It was made by a man, every character in the movie is approached only from the male perspective, and every idea in the movie is valid only from a man’s point of view. It’s not a misogynistic film, but it’s a little bit annoying to watch a film like this – not because of its inherent masculine one-sidedness, but because this film was made in 1977 – three freaking decades ago, when I was one year old – and the plight of women in cinema has not improved one iota in the thirty years since then. I swear, it hasn’t!

When a true feminist is working in the system, her movies tend to slip by the public unnoticed – how about Jane Campion (The Piano, In the Cut) or Mary Harron (American Psycho)? Isn’t there a way to make a movie for women, by women, that can also be enjoyed by men? If I can enjoy the most hyper-masculine movie, is it too much to ask that an intelligent man enjoy a challenging movie made by women? I’m not asking for a slew of feminist manifesto-type films… just anything from a female perspective that even comes remotely close to reality would be a nice change. It doesn’t even have to be directed by a woman (see The New World)!

This is basically a long preface to let you know that I accidentally saw two films centered around women today – but neither of them had much to say, except that women are loud, needy, and vacuous without a strong man to hold them in check.

#1 – Because I Said So – This film was basically crap. It was enjoyable in parts, and I find Mandy Moore very appealing, in large part because of her almost-normal body frame. I mean, you can see at least an ounce of fat on that girl’s upper arms. But this movie was the worst of chick flicks – unreal at every moment, and indulging in the most gratuitous of Hollywood Female Fantasies, i.e. the Noble Single Father. And would women this repressed really have graphic conversations about sex with their crazy mother? At one point Mandy Moore’s character is about to have a fling with a guy, and tells her mom that he’s uncircumcised (in so many words) on the phone right as she’s about to do the deed…. A wee bit unbelievable.

#2 – Factory Girl – This was a pretty good movie, worth watching, but nothing superb. I knew nothing about Edie Sedgwick before seeing this, and they made her out to be a slightly more intelligent version of Paris Hilton – basically, the first person to be famous just for being an heiress. It was sad, she took a lot of drugs, she had no real friends, she was super-needy and never found what she truly wanted, etc.

So, after nearly four hours of women crying, bitching, screaming, and being pathetic, I feel like I don’t even know where to turn… It’s even more depressing to see people that should be strong, interesting female role models (hello, Diane Keaton) doing work that makes us look worthless. Can’t we stand on our own two feet? Why does every “Female Empowering” movie have an ending where the woman finally finds the man that makes her Complete? And if she can’t find that man, she dies completely alone and desperate in a hotel room of a drug overdose? Honestly, with the choices the movies give me, I prefer the hotel room O.D.