Monday, January 22, 2007

Big Pile of Movies

Recently viewed:

Pan's Labyrinth - I'm put into a peculiar position with regard to this film. It's a good movie, but I'm forced to say I was disappointed by it, because I had read several reviews which had led me to expect it to be spectacularly wonderful, so I was disappointed when it was merely good. When someone says something like, "For several minutes after seeing the movie, the only thing I could think of to say was, “Wow!”", I'm looking for something on the level of 12 Monkeys, Amélie, or A Very Long Engagement. Pan's Labyrinth is not on that level. Yet, it is a good movie, and it was worth seeing.

Dreamgirls - Pretty impressive. I've occasionally been in movies before where the audience applauded at the end. I think this may have been the first movie I've ever been in where a performance brought about an ovation in the middle of the film. I'm speaking, of course, of Jennifer Hudson's big number, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going". What I found impressive about that, specifically, is that it would have been very easy for Hudson to let the song do all the emoting in the scene for her, but she doesn't: She acts, through the song, and she's playing simultaneous anger, betrayal, heartbreak... Yeah: She earned that Golden Globe. Eddie Murphy is also amazing, and boy, they sure didn't shy away from Beyonce's character being "loosely based on" Diana Ross, did they? There are some really recognizable hairdos and outfits in there.

Eragon - Enh. This felt like it was written by a 17-year-old D&D geek. Oh, right, it actually was... A particular favorite moment of mine was when the Good Guys are all waiting in their fortress for the Bad Guys to come and get them, and they basically just sit there waiting while the Bad Guys break through the stone wall surrounding the Good Guys' fortress. Um, guys? Why aren't you up on top of that wall, throwing rocks down on the Bad Guys who are breaking through it? You've been taking strategy and tactics lessons from those RPG nerds who played the "Siege of Minas Tirith" at Gen Con years ago, who immediately marched the entire vastly outnumbered Gondorian army outside the walls of the city and into the fields to meet the enemy (who promptly slaughtered them), haven't you? By the way, if you value your sanity, don't read that IMDB discussion thread, "Paolini or Tolkien?", wherein fans "debate" which one is the better writer.

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room - Pretty good, despite its obvious anti-corporate, anti-capitalist bias. Early on, the narrator poses a question that goes something like, "Was this just a few unprincipled men? Or was it the dark side of the American Dream?" Well, personally, my answer is the former. I am sick and tired of people pointing to things done by individuals and blaming the entire capitalist economic structure. This wasn't a failure of "capitalism", it was that guy. Theft and fraud are not inherent to capitalist economy - they're aberrations, and these people would have found some unscrupulous way to make themselves rich at others' expense under any economic system, and I would argue that under any system other than capitalism, they would have had a much easier time of it, and would probably never have been caught. Still, the anti-corporate bias of this documentary was not quite as bad as I feared/expected, and it isn't hard to look past if you already know at least a little bit about California's energy "deregulation" and the crisis it caused.

1 comment:

Reel Fanatic said...

I went to see Dreamgirls way back on Christmas Day, and it was a packed house of mostly black people .. without exaggeration, they broke into applause at least six times, twice during the closing credits ... Along with the truly amazing performance from Ms. Hudson, I think much of the reaction was the sheer joy of seeing a movie with so many people who looked like them and weren't pimps, hos or drug addicts