Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mini Movie Reviews: Bulk Hit No 1

I cannot and will not review every film I see, despite an intense desire to do so. I’ve decided I will stick to thorough reviews of films that are important to me (such as Indy was – oh, the anticipation!), and mini-reviews, in bulk, of any films worthy of mentioning, for good or for worse.

The Invasion

When I saw the teaser for this film I was ecstatic. Firstly, because I love science fiction; secondly, because I believe Nicole Kidman can act; thirdly, because I detest little green men for aliens…and the trailer suggested this invasion was to be kept to intruders resembling humans – what a relief!

Haki and I watched it last night. Sadly, it is B-grade, scantily edited, and in poor taste (the means by which invasion occurs and spreads is lame, in a word). On the plus side, Haki stayed awake the entire time, and unlike 1408 – which engendered zero fear in me – it succeeded in causing me to feel suspense, fear, and intrigue. I enjoyed the protagonist’s predicament in spite of the film.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

I took my film club of 12 middle-school students to see Prince Caspian last night. For starters, I found the first film delightful. Somewhat darker, I found the second impressed me. Perhaps it helped that I entered without expectation, and perhaps it also helps that I don’t mind overt Christian allegory (in fact, it made me smile). Yes, it is long, but I wanted to spend time in Narnia. There are some moments I would rather were left out, but I forgave them, because I enjoy Lewis, and feel any adaptations of his works are better to error on the side of detail than brevity. I left uplifted and wanting to be better, and the special effects impressed – therefore, I deem it a great film.

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Tuesday night (What’s that? You’ve started doing the math on how many movies I watch? Like I say, these reviews are a selection of what I have seen…I dig movies) Haki and I went to see The Incredible Hulk. I’d like to think I was open-minded. For the last three days it seemed everyone I had spoken to was raving about Edward Norton. Edward Norton was fine. What was most amusing, was that this film attempted to rationalise the hero’s pants still fitting once transformed into the green machine. Most amusing. I will forget the storyline, no doubt, but I was entertained.

The Diving Bell and Butterfly

First of all, it’s French, and so there are topless women, but thankfully, no sex scenes. I find it interesting these topless extras were not considered worthy of listing as nudity. Ah, French films.

Donna and I walked into town to see this together a couple of weeks ago. We were both husband and vehicle -less, and in the mood for something arty and thought-provoking. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly delivered. The film is an adaptation of the memoirs of a man paralysed after a stroke, dictating said memoirs through his only available communicative avenue – a single, blinking eye.

A point-of-view shot normally appears tacky to me; I am conscious of the camera being manoeuvred to create such an effect, and I am distracted by imagining this occurring…normally. In the case of the TDBaB, the filming is so seamless I forgot cameras were involved, and began to feel I had been given a special pass inside someone else’s head. There are particular points to this story which are poignantly framed, and tragic consequences for lessons learned too late. Overall, the film moved me – to greater appreciate my capacity to do all that I can do, and to consider “locked-in syndrome” and other debilitating circumstances that mean others cannot.


I love Bollywood. I love the music. I love the big dance numbers. I love the stricter film regulations keeping lip-to-lip kissing off the screen, and hand-holding, foreheads touching, and embraces being left to convey passion. Saawariya was beautiful to watch. Viewers are transported into a blue-tinted city, with all its foibles, and introduced to a naïve and optimistic young man in love. Simply sumptuous.

Sweet Land

For such a small budget, this film presents surprisingly breathtaking cinematography and style. It justifiably won best narrative at the Hamptons International Film Festival, and has predominantly circulated as an art house offering, despite painting such a universal experience. I found Sweet Land caused me to reflect on things I hadn’t before (calling upon me to ask, “How do I feel about this?”), and touched on shared histories worth visiting – in particular, an immigration story, intertwined with a special type of love tale. Verdict: Tasteful, thoughtful, and gorgeous.

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