Monday, May 22, 2006

Films I have watched and not liked much

I am feeling much better today and am really very excited about travelling down south to see the Aged Parents on Wednesday. I am planning on making a cake for [...] birthday which on Sunday. I can’t normally cook at all, but Mum has promised to help. It is going to be a Black Forest Gateau, which translates into my second favourite German word Schwarzwaldkirschtorte (my most favourite German word, since you ask, is Gespensterheuschrecke which means stick insect).

I have been watching a series of very disappointing movies during my dip. I may include spoilers so be warned.

The new King Kong is a disgrace, it could have been really camp and fun and it was painfully long, boring and made little attempt to address the racist undertones of the original story. The stop-motion animation of the original is amusing now but it creates far more genuine suspense than what these guys have done with the CGI. I mean, just because it is possible to havea giant gorilla fighting three dinosaurs at once whilst holding damsel in distress in his fist, doesn’t mean it is convincing to watch. For a superior remake, check out Angry Alien.

Batman Begins (one has craving for comic book heroes from time to time) took itself terribly seriously and therefore reached new, as yet unexplored, depths of cheesiness. And they cast Gary Oldman as good everyman type character. Now, I’m not arguing for typecasting, but when you are making a Batman Movie, is it the right moment to challenge expectations? So one sits through this entire film expecting him to tear off his peachy face and reveal himself to be bright green underneath. He doesn't.

Crash<, having won Best Picture at the Oscars was a greater disappointment. It was beautifully made and terribly worthy, I know, but I felt it failed as a movie. It was just one lot of unpleasantness and tension, followed by a partial, usually unsatisfactory resolution, followed my another set of unpleasantness and tension involving a completely different set of characters. No central narrative, and whilst it illustrates the fact that racism is a complex, sometimes subtle and multidimensional thing, nobody who had the stamina to sit through the film needed to be told that.

It would have made for a better film if it had followed the stories of one or two characters rather than a dozen, each of whom we were required to make quite an investment in within a very short space of time. It would have made for a better film had it included some suggestion as to how this human misery could be resolved; instead it actually suggested that whilst racism is not the exclusive domain of monsters, there’s not a lot that can be done about it.

In fairness, I was having a bad day, it was exhausting to watch so all my negative feeling may have been greatly exaggerated by the sense of having wasted my time and energy. Perhaps what was most meritous about Crash was the fact that it wasn't about the sort of America we see all the time in the movies, where everyone lives in vast houses, is either a hero or a villain, and where people of different race and varying socio-economic status either rub along very nicely or exaggerate the differences to comic effect. The fact that guns were everywhere was demonstrated as the Very Bad Thing that it clearly is, which is unusual for an American film.

On a positive note, the only really good thing we have seen lately is the new series of Doctor Who as kindly recorded by friend Aunty Vic (her nephew was born yesterday). David Tennant rocks. A bit too much of the touchy-feelies so far, but otherwise it is brilliant.

Oh and in bloggings, there is this great new blog written by an enigma.


Anonymous said...

And you could do with a new logo, that one is crap!

K said...

I agree about Crash. Good, yes, but good enough?

pete said...

Thank you for putting up that wonderful last verse Goldfish.

Crap indeed. Do you think he meant Carp?

'There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.'

marmiteboy said...

Good God, King Kong. What a load of tosh that was. If only it hadn't been 3 hours long. 3 minutes would have been long enough. I thought the CGI was shoddy too.

marmiteboy said...

Good God, King Kong. What a load of tosh that was. If only it hadn't been 3 hours long. 3 minutes would have been long enough. I thought the CGI was shoddy too.

The Goldfish said...

Yes Pete, I'm sure it was a simple typo. ;-) Glad you liked the poem, I did too. My friend Vic found it for me from somewhere.

I couldn't believe how long King Kong was. I mean, you could forgive Peter Jackson for making Lord of the Rings very long since LOTR is a veritable doorstop, but the plot for King Kong could have been written comprehensively on the back of a stamp.

Well, if you used small handwriting...

BloggingMone said...

I have managed to watch King Kong for an hour and a bit, before I could no longer resist the urge to do something useful. Who needs that??
Goldfish here is something you may wish to add to your list of favourite German words:
DonaudampfschifffahrtskapitÀnsjackenknopf meaning: the button on a jacket of the captain of a steam boat on the river danube.

midwesterntransport said...

yuppers about CRASH. another thing that pissed me off about that movie is that it seemed primarily about the men. Thandie Newton's character wasn't a person, really; she was a catalyst for the men around her to have "deep" realizations about their lives. The audience never really got to see how she responded to the cop's assault; instead, we saw how watching his wife be assaulted affected her husband and emasculated him.

Then, she was in a terrible car crash - so we could see how her response to the cop made him question his previous actions.

I'm tired of watching women be brutalized and then ignored.

I also thought that Ryan Phillipe's (the young cop) actions at the end made NO sense. Dude: why would you pull over for a hitchhiker in L.A.? No one in their RIGHT MIND stops for hitchhikers anywhere in the U.S. now - and most especially not in Southern California. Was I supposed to learn that he was racist, too? Cause I didn't. I learned that he was gigantic dumbass.

Anonymous said...

Reference the previous comment: It is well known that I make my Rolls Canardly available to the deserving and needy (and Lady Bracknell!) but I have never picked up a hitch hiker at Liverpool Airport.
I did once pick up a diminutive bearded scruffy man there but it turned out he was the CEO of a large Government Department. C’est la vie!

Dude x

The Goldfish said...

DonaudampfschifffahrtskapitÀnsjackenknopf is now my third most favourite German word. ;-)

I agree with Midwesterntransport about Thandie Newton's character and the women in general, but I suppose I just thought that they wouldn't want to break too many conventions at once... depressing, eh?

midwesterntransport said...

depressing indeed. but i think you're right on target, goldfish.

pete said...

Did not Thandie get scoffed by a vampire or two, Rice style?

Disability Blogger said...

King Kong was a major disappointment in many ways. I lost hope for the film at the introduction of the one millionth oversized cgi insect. Batman Begins...I think Michael Keaton owns the role, perhaps in the same way that Christopher Reeve will continue to own Superman. But the batmobile as an armored personnel carrier complete with jet assist was a nice touch.

James Medhurst said...

I disagree about Crash, which I think was the best film I have seen for a long time. Yes, it is hard hitting but it is the only film that tells the truth about racism - that sees it as an institutional problem rather than surrounding it with psycho-babble. I think that white people sometimes find it a bit too reassuring to think that racists are just insecure bullies. Also, isn't it remarkable how little casual racism you see in films compared to real life? There were things in Crash that I have never seen in a film before.

James Medhurst said...

Oops. Sorry that comment sounds a lot more aggressive than I meant it to. I guess this is a subject that I feel passionate about. For me, I had one idea of what racism was and it was changed by a personal experience a few years ago and now I find much commentary on the subject to be very trite. Crash is different and if you think that it is just telling you what you already know, I would say it is worth watching again.