Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mini Movie Reviews: Bulk Hit No 2

A selection of films I wish to comment on – for better or worse.

Mamma Mia
Haki and I grinned our way through this tonight. Perhaps not a film to guide your life by, nor a critic’s favourite, I still tapped my feet away merrily, was wowed by Meryl Streep, and was generally chuffed to view this modern musical. Those who complain are those who expect spontaneous bursts of song and choreography to seem natural, for all actors to be professional singers, and for a musical consisting of ABBA alone to be logical. Innuendo and de facto relationships are its greatest flaws. Meryl and her sidekicks are its greatest strengths. Expect less people, and be impressed. We laughed.

Fool’s Gold
Haki and I made the mistake of seeing this in cinema. I see it’s now out for rental consumption. We might have wanted it to be good because the formulaic dramaturgy of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days satisfied, whether we often admit it or not. I think Fool’s Gold would better serve as a long underwear commercial. Waste…of…time.

We saw this at an advanced screening in the theatre, and again, it’s a recent release now in NZ – making it topical to my way of thinking. For me these ficto-docos are painfully lacking in suspense due to one major absence; music. I need music to move me in any film. By their nature non-diegetic sound cannot be woven into the film’s fabric, and therefore this sub-genre fails me. The only scene that had me was in the subway tunnel…aside from that, I left underwhelmed, such a shame.

Rescue Dawn
I like Christian Bale. I enjoy Steve Zahn (Sahara), even if I was surprised by his appearance in this film. I anticipated B-grade, and was served what I ordered. As a result, I was not disappointed. A walkabout story with some thought-provoking situations, Rescue Dawn is also a chance to cringe at emaciated actors in a less predictable semi-bio-pic (I say “semi”, because can we ever know how much of such a tale is true?). In rudimentary terms, it's Prisonbreak meets Behind Enemy Lines with a small dash of The Machinist.

The Last Days of Disco
Fascinating. Prevalent references to sex and drugs prevent me from heartily recommending this movie. The witty script is what made this a treat; satire at its best. My advice – skip the film, and enjoy some of the dialogue:

But if you were a betting person, would you say, "That tortoise won against the hare; in future races I'm backing him"? No. That race was almost certainly a fluke and afterwards the tortoise is still a tortoise, and the hare a hare. (Josh Neff)

Maybe in physical terms I'm a little cuter than you, but you should be much more popular than I am. (Charlotte Pingress)

That's like something out of the Nazis! (Jimmy)

There is something depressing about [Lady and the Tramp], and it's not really about dogs. Except for some superficial bow-wow stuff at the start, the dogs all represent human types, which is where it gets into real trouble. Lady, the ostensible protagonist, is a fluffy blond Cocker Spaniel with absolutely nothing on her brain. She's great-looking, but - let's be honest - incredibly insipid. Tramp, the love interest, is a smarmy braggart of the most obnoxious kind - an oily jailbird out for a piece of tail, or... whatever he can get. … he's a self-confessed chicken thief, and all-around sleazeball. What's the function of a film of this kind? Essentially as a primer on love and marriage directed at very young people, imprinting on their little psyches the idea that smooth-talking delinquents recently escaped from the local pound are a good match for nice girls from sheltered homes. When in ten years the icky human version of Tramp shows up around the house, their hormones will be racing and no one will understand why. Films like this program women to adore jerks. (Josh Neff)

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