Sunday, January 21, 2007
I watched four movies on DVD this weekend. Those who know me well know it's usually impossible to get me to watch even a single movie very often. I always feel like I should be doing something else. Reading, drawing, writing. Something. This weekend though I decided to catch up on a few movies I'd been meaning to watch, and so I did. So what were they?
First was The Terminal, starring Tom Hanks and directed by Steven Spielberg. It's the one about the foreign guy who ends ups living in JFK Airport. The idea appealed to me, so I wanted to check it out. I was less than impressed. Very professionally done, as one would expect from this star and this director, but overall just a little too pat and not at all believable. Yes I've heard it's based on a true story, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say 'loosely' based.
Next up was the Illusionist, starring Edward Norton and Jessica Beil. I liked this one The cinematography was great, with sepia tones and the edges of the screen flickering like an old silent film. Norton was intense. Beil was pretty. No real surprises here, but a well done film with nice period detail.
All I can say about the third movie, M. Night Shymalan's Lady in the Water, is that this is one of those films where I think the film maker's reach exceeded his grasp. This movie almost works, but the idea remains kind of fuzzy and the plot really doesn't make any sense. Characters make enormous leaps in logic with little or no reason and they accept the incredible way too easily. It's just an odd film. I was also a little disappointed in that it wasn't exactly about what I thought it was about. The advertising says it's about a character from a bedtime story who gets caught in our world and needs help to get home. It's not. The water nymph in the story is clearly stated to be a member of a real race that once had frequent dealings with humanity. She isn't human, but she isn't fictional. So while there may be a bed time story told about her race, she isn't a character from a bedtime story. I was sort of hoping she'd actually escaped from a book and needed help getting back. Like what if Snow White was stuck in the real world. That's my kind of story.
The fourth movie was a Canadian production called Beowulf and Grendel. It's about, well...Beowulf and Grendel. It's not a bad movie. It's a hardboiled take on the old Norse saga, with the various vikings cursing and talking like contemporary tough guys. It kind of works. I mean if you made a literal translation of what people said, rather than giving it the Tolkien sort of forsooth talk, vikings would probably have been a pretty crude bunch. What gives the film a real kick though is that it was shot on location in Iceland. Real ice flows. Real icebergs. Real fiords to pine for. The weather and the backgrounds really help drive the stark nature of the story home. And Grendel's mom is one ugly bitch. Not a bad sword & sorcery film, really.
Anyway, that was the weekend that was. Probably be some time before I see that many movies again in that short a space of time.