Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mini Movie Reviews: Bulk Hit No 5

Critics complaining about this film must not be familiar with Baz Luhrmann. Once you know the man behind Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, and Moulin Rouge! has taken the reins of project you need to adjust your expectations. This film never promised authenticity, rationale, or pragmatism. On the contrary, I knew it would be a highly stylised, romanticised, piece of hyperbole - did its title not suggest such? With this in mind, I entered the theatre optimistic, and I left grinning; in fact, I smiled through most of the film. Australia is a fine piece of melodrama. Ignore the anachronisms and be swept away by melodramatic formula, music and dialogue. I loved it. Biggest downfall: a woman smelling of curry, onion, garlic, and sweat sat next to me 10 minutes into the film; I craned away for the balance of it. Gag.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
With its exceptional trailer and strong direction, I was confident about this one. I have long been familiar with F. Scott Fitzgerald's story, upon which the film is based, and anticipated its release as a result. I think my expectations were too high. I appreciated the cinematography and technical achievements of the film. I was disappointed to find too many impressionistic scenes, much like inflated vignettes, woven together to form a long and less inspiring film than I'd hoped for. While at times I was moved, I also got some messages too readily; so you're both near the same age now - that must mean romping is in order. I get it. I get it. Stop doing it. I get it.

Firstly, it is necessary to establish I was one who read the book first. Haki, my viewing companion, did not. We both enjoyed the film. I was very cautious about embracing Robert Pattinson as the lead - largely based on his face alone. Edward, after all, is perfect. Haki was impressed with Pattinson. And I must confess, by midway I was satisfied he was going to do an acceptable job. It amuses me greatly that, prior to seeing the film, I felt Kristen Stewart was so well suited to the role. Of the pair's faces, I was most pleased with her casting. But a few days on, I find I have more respect for Pattinson, and that my affection for Stewart has dwindled. I think it has a lot to do with my having been too easily affected by her interview on Letterman - which my father told me was highly entertaining. I sort of regret having looked it up, for how it alters my views, but also think she's a young one yet, and will get better in the hot seat with time. Enjoyed the film...enjoyed the books (are you happy Janssen?)...they'll get their own spot here soon.

Kung Fu Panda
I saw this for the first time recently...over and over at my brother's house, where his dear girl played it...every day (which I did with Charlotte's Web when I was wee). I don't like Jack Black. I like Kung Fu Panda...a lot. Even on the 5th semi-attentive viewing. Great humour - a lot cleaner than a lot of other animated films are (in my opinion) these days. I'm sick of innuendo in movies writers know kids will see. I'm also sick of euphemisms for swearing (e.g. Lord Farquaad of Shrek). It's not my ultimate animated movie, and I still don't like Jack Black, but this is the best animated flick I've seen in a while.

I recommend skipping:
  • Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  • High School Musical 3 (So I saw it...okay, okay. I liked number one, forgive me)

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