Thursday, December 4, 2008

I'm not missing new films, AND THE SHIP SAILS ON (50) and PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (29)29

Every once in a while in these Criterion-soaked days, I start to feel a little twitchy about not dedicating as much time to more modern day films as I have in the past. I'm still, as much as the consistently thinning pocket book allows, trying to get out and see films in the theatre, but my Netflix queue (much to the chagrin of my bumbling roommate) is pretty much stocked with Criterion flicks. This sort of freaks me out, I don't want to become one of those wispy-bearded cineophiles who hides in his amongst his poster rolls and 16mm film reels, writing angry screes about the state of modern film. Seriously, that isn't what I'm aiming for here.

Thus, I think I need to start picking my late-night films a little better. Over the course of the last two weeks I've, of my own volition mind you, watched these films: Cashback, Next, and The Transporter 2. Let me, in quick succesion, give my opinions on these films:

1. Cashback - the wankiest British flick I've ever seen. It was pretty, there was a ton of very attractive woman-nudity, and the main guy was fairly decent if not stiflingly pretentious. Sadly, the film had no pace, no ambition, and was absolutely scatter-shot in its approach. Maybe the British just have a different way of movie-watching.

2. Next - I watched this film because I have sick fascination with Nic Cage and the reasons why people continue to cast him, and his horribly receding hairline in anything. This was one of the worst films I've ever seen. Pointless, unexplained, far too much sweaty Nic Cage - I tried watching this film like six times and still never made it through to the end. On the plus side, Jessica Biel looks great ... no matter what.

3. The Transporter 2 - I can't believe this film was actually made as a sequel and that based on it, they allowed a third film. This is a brainless, hideous action piece that has one good action sequence and some of the worst computer graphics, well, ever. I mean it's sad to me that I sat through this entire junker last night, but was only able to sit through an hour and half of And The Ship Sails On (50), but hell, flashing lights, scantily clad women, and explosions seemingly still have a draw for me. Whomever has been championing these films in the dork community needs to be dragged out in to the street and tarred and feathered. I'm not joking.

Seriously, these three films have pretty much eliminated any desire for me to be watching modern films right now. I know, don't you worry, that there are better films out there, but I'd rather be investing some time in some of the classics than spend even a second on another junker like this.

Again, after watching The Transporter 2 last night, watching And The Ship Sails On (50) was like sleeping with Kate Beckinsale after seeing Hillary Clinton naked. This film, though not my favorite Fellini film is beautiful and says so much about the secret lives we live when the camera is on. The story of a group of famous singers, musicians, and actors coming together on a boat set sail for a small island to celebrate the death of the most famous singer of all is laced with this bittersweet sadness that will dwell in your heart long after you finish watching it. I'm always impressed at Fellini's ability to juggle massive casts and tonal shifts, and this movie does so with aplomb. There was a scene in a boiler room where a bunch of operatic singers are sort of trying to out do each other that left dripping bleeding holes in my ear drums, but that might just be my aversion to opera. I'm finishing this tonight, no doubt, and I'll give you my final thoughts tomorrow.

When I was just a wee film dork back in the late-90s struggling to associate myself with "cool" old movies I was always dauntingly impressed by Picnic At Hanging Rock (29). First, it is directed by Peter Weir (The Truman Show) and secondly, I'd heard that it was comparable to an old favorite of mine The Blair Witch Project. As a fledgling film dork, I was more than excited to check out this film. And ... back in the day I was unimpressed. It's a strange film, less a narrative story, than a dreamy, spooky mood that hangs over an Australian school house. The plot revolves around three Victorian-age girls that go missing on a chunk of rock on a hot day in the Aussie Outback. Everything I've read about it addresses the sexual longing inherent in the film, but I thinking back now, all I can remember is the sort of dry spookiness that hung over everything. Oh, well I also remember a screaming chubby girl running down a mountain, but that's just because I'm weird.

Friday: And The Ship Sails On (50) and M (30)

1 comment:

wescoat said...

Three movies currently on the big screen that I believe will renew your faith in modern movies (though I've only seen one of them):

Synecdoche, NY (Saw it. Loved it.)

Let the Right One In (You saw it. You loved it.)

JCVD (Haven't seen it. Have no doubt it will indisputably rule, especially the alleged five-minute monologue scene in which Van Damme bursts into tears.)