Monday, May 09, 2005

Weekend Movie Roundup

Some furious DVD-watching went on this weekend. In the order we watched them:

House of Flying Daggers: Very pretty. Probably not quite as good as Hero, overall, but still well worth viewing. Brenda commented that the plot was like an opera, what with all the tragic love-triangle business.

Videodrome: The Criterion Collection DVD. The movie, as everyone should know by now, is amazing, visionary, prescient, etc. Criterion has released this in what may be the coolest DVD packaging ever: The outside of the 2-disc case is printed to look like an old Betamax videotape, and slides into a slip cover like the ones around such tapes.

Meet the Fockers: Eenh. Harmless, light fluff, about what you'd expect. The outtakes of Dustin Hoffman goofing around are funnier than most of what's in the actual movie. I anticipate with vertiginous dread the inevitable sequel, "Meet the Little Focker", in which their baby is born and/or enters toddler-hood.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Wow. This movie does what so much good SF does (and what so much bad SF doesn't): It uses a technological development as a vehicle to explore some aspect of what it means to be human. That aspect, here, is the question of whether ridding yourself of the bad memories of a love lost would be worth the cost of also losing the good memories of that love, from before it was lost. I tend to agree with the film's ultimate answer to that question: "No."

Saved!: Cute teenage romantic comedy. Some reviewer, I think it was Ebert, said when this came out that it was very even-handed, that the religious people in it weren't caricatured. I disagree. In fact, several of the religious people in it are caricatures, and you can even map the degree to which the characters are well-developed, non-caricatures by how far away from the born-again Christian view they move over the course of the film. The more faithfully "born-again" they are, the more shallow and egotistical they are. As an orthodox atheist, I'm not exactly offended by movies making fun of religious folk, but I don't think this movie could really be called "even-handed". "Heavy-handed" would be a more accurate description of a film in which one character throws a Bible at another, who picks it up and says, "This is not a weapon." One does not even need to notice the "Special Thanks" to the book Atheism: The Case Against God in the closing credits to know what the film's philosophical viewpoint is.

1 comment:

Joseph said...

I've seen "Daggers" and "Eternal Sunshine" . . . agree with your assessments overall. Liked "Hero" better than "Daggers" because of its storytelling structure, though the operatic comparisons of the latter is spot-on. "Sunshine" is perhaps the greatest SF movie since "Blade Runner" (and deals with similar themes), all the better when you consider that it wasn't billed or marketed as SF.