Sunday, September 04, 2005

Don't listen to the critics...It was not so grim

Remember I anxiously counted down my trip to the movies last week? The chaos that is my life did not prevent me from an evening with my girlfriend at the movies. I am not a movie critic - or at least a very good one. Sometimes I consider myself a movie snob. I like dramas, but not if they are too depressing. For instance, I really want to see Hotel Rwanda, but I have not yet found the right mood in which to watch it. Oi. That sounds so shallow. I generally do not like comedies - there were a couple that were okay as of late - The Life Aquatic and The Royal Tannenbaums were off beat enough to appeal to my tastes. But films like Deuce Bigalo and The Pacifier rarely get my attention. Sometimes I say to myself "There are nations starving and dying of disease, and someone chose to finance a piece of shit movie like The Dukes of Hazzard?" I usually stop myself there - because I would then need to question the comforts and privilege of my own life, and then I would find myself in a shame spiral. I think Chomsky is right - I watch movies to ignore all the real issues.

I never watch Horror films, or romantic comedies. I live in a small town, so movie resources are not all that varied for my movie snobbiness. Added to the fact that we do not have cable or satellite TV (just two local channels with fuzzy reception) - renting movies is our only means of entertainment. I have prerequisites that sometimes have a hard time being filled. I like a good story - it can be tragic, it can be heroic, or epic. I love historical movies (but not about the Civil War) I love special effects, and set and costume design play heavily into my aesthetic. I like dramas as long as they do not involve ordinary people with ordinary problems. I don't need to spend my escapist dollars to relate to a film. I can pull up a chair and watch my neighbours. For free (and some strange looks). Calculate all my criteria and it results in at least one good movie a month. For a film to drag me out of my pyjammas and into the full priced theatre, is a massive undertaking. The Brothers Grimm had alot going for it - a great director, special effects, premodern setting, great costumes. And lastly, when I pay almost 10 bucks to see a movie and an equal amount for snacks - I am going to enjoy the movie whether I like it or not.

The Brothers Grimm lived up to my expectations. It was dark, quirky, weird and even corney at times. I could have done with less of Matt Damon's characters' lame jokes about women - but I can forgive that. The story was inventive. There were overt and subtle references throughout the entire film to fairy tales. Some inspired by the real Brothers Grimm, some from the tome of Mother Goose. The special effects were not too over the top - and did not over shadow the narrative. The tale sometimes challenged fairytale sterotypes, sometimes played right into them. In all I had a great time and came home raving. Its coming to the rep theatre next week, and I am planning on a second viewing in fact. I've seen some of the reviews - and I just don't share its mediocre reception. Some thought it was dead boring. I was at the edge of my freaking seat! I don't get it. Was it just too clever for its own good? Perhaps the movie going public generally do not like to think or make connections while they are watching a film.

Movie dollars well spent, escapism achieved.


hotboy said...

The two best movies I saw recently were both Chinese. Flying Dagger and some Hero thing. I can't follow plots anyway, but they looked delectable. When I go to the movies with my partner (she's in Hades now, poor thing!) I usually fall asleep. Hotboy p.s. Terrible to see so much money spent on illiterate scripts! pps I see you employed one of those word things!I can read it! I'm not a robot!

Heather said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Heather said...

I got spammed! So, I had to build my litle fortress of sanity. You should see Kung Fu Hustle then, Hotby. I think you would really be able to appreciate it.

hotboy said...

The thing about those movies was that whoever tried to make them look fabulous. You could have stuck stills on your wall. You'd need to find some sticky stuff, of course. In my case, you could leave the stills on the floor for a few months! Hotboy

hotboy said...

After what I said earlier ... is this technical exuberance (really eye-catching by the way!) the same as displacement activity ... how do you get the time to do that? If you want something done, do you give it to a busy josephine? Hotboy

robmcj said...

Heather. I enjoy gentle/sad comedies like Sideways, and the last mainstream U.S. movie I liked was As Good As It Gets. But apart from that I steer clear of most American movies (no offence). Dumb movies with the asinine Adam Sandler are the worst. Like you say, the colossal waste of money on producing crap makes one almost ashamed to live in the West.

Documentaries are scoring well these days. Apart from the Mike Whatsisname ones and Supersize Me, there was a great one on American kids' spelling contests. Did you enjoy the Chomsky documentaries in recent years? Even when I disagree with parts of what he says, I just admire his courage and intellect.

Hotboy - I saw both those movies, very beautiful to look at but I gave up on trying to follow the plot.

Heather - what happened to the template?