Sunday, April 15, 2007

PCB packs them in

Having only seen one film at the cinema in what felt like forever (Danny Boyle's Sunshine, which was 95 minutes of intense brilliance undone by a final 20 minutes of utter shit), I made it to the cinema 4 times over this weekend, 3 of the visits packed into yesterday, before going to work for a six hour overtime shift at 6pm.

On Friday I saw 300. I don't know how I managed to miss it for so long. My train of thought was pretty much this "Wow, there's not much of a plot is there? Oh, Gerard Butler is shouting. Oh look, slow motion bloodshed. Now he's shouting again. Dear Christ, Rodrigo Santoro looks RIDICULOUS. More fighting. More shouting. Oh, it's over." I guess I admired it stylistically, but it's not something I'll be clamouring to see again anytime soon.

Yesterday, I started with an early morning (10am!) showing of Meet The Robinsons. So as not to appear a total pedophile, I purchased the tickets for the other two films at the same time. As much as I hate Disney as a corporation, I do love their animated movies. While Meet The Robinsons hammers its cutesy family ethic home hard enough to give me serious blunt force trauma, there were enough inspired moments of laugh out loud silliness to make up for it. And the whole time travelling plot was pretty clever too. There was perhaps too much plot fighting for space but that's not always a bad thing.

Next up was something at the opposite end of the spectrum, Curse Of The Golden Flower. I was actually in two minds about this, as I was bored to tears by Hero, but did love House Of Flying Daggers. Ultimately though, my love of Gong Li was the deciding factor. The film is a visual feast, every frame is pretty much a work of art and the opulence drips off the screen. Same goes for the costumes. It's all so very very beautiful. The plot is pure hokum though to the point that I found myself wondering if Gong Li's ultimate aim was to take over Denver-Carrington. Her intensely brilliant performance is the glue that holds the film together, as she's more Lady Macbeth by way of Desdemona than Alexis Carrington-Colby. Ultimately, this ends up being yet another film that is much more exciting to look at than it is to actually watch.

The cinematic finalé was provided by The Lives Of Others. I mentioned when this film made my radar that it better be good as it beat out my film of the year for the Oscar. It's better than good, it's entirely engrossing. Never feeling less than 100% authentic, it boils down the horror of the Stasi regime to a small handful of characters all meticulously fleshed out and perfectly acted. That such an accomplished film is from a first time writer/director is all the more remarkable. While the tragedy that ultimately befalls the main character (the heavily surveilled artist, Dreyman) is horrific, it's not his story that makes the biggest impression. Conflicted Stasi operative Wiesler is the true focus and the final scene of the film involves him and with very few words manages to be uplifting and heartbreaking all at the same time.

And there you have it. I do partly think that it won the Oscar over Pan's Labyrinth for telling an equally important story in a more straightforward fashion, but it is by no means an undeserving victor. Unlike, say, Halle Berry.

No comments: