"It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen."

Friday, December 23, 2011

Unpopular Movie Reviews

I caught up on some movies I've been meaning to watch. Three in fact: Children of Men, Babel, and Night at the Museum.  And, I'm not sure why, but my opinion of these films isn't quite meshing with the real reviews they're getting. It could be, of course, that the paid reviewers don't know shite. You be the judge.

I rarely have the time to see a lot of movies. And it seems the number of films available is increasing exponentially. So I only go if a film gets at least three stars in the Globe and Mail. In fact, if Liam Lacey likes it, I'm guaranteed to like it. Up until now.

Spoilers below. Be warned.

(Although this view of winning films might not be something new. I must admit I was just like Elaine, from Seinfeld, watching The English Patient. Borrrring. I just couldn't connect to the characters in a meaningful way. Or when I read Life of Pi, which everyone raves about. I really liked the religious discussions in it, and the idea was interesting. And I loved the whole philosophy of interpretation and choice in narratives. But I could care less about the character. I had no emotional involvement with the book at all, so, as far as I'm concerned, it wasn't a great novel. His whole family died, and I didn't feel remotely sad for him. Eh, life's rough.)

Children of Men was acceptable. It kept me interested. I liked the feel of the movie, like an early 60s British film. And I loved the soundtrack. But it wasn't amazing or anything. It made me think of Escape from New York and Logan's Run, two other not-so-amazing movies. Just a guy and girl running from everyone, never sure who they can really trust. And, oh yeah, this time there's a baby that's a big deal to everyone in the world. I guess the premise of there being only one baby born after 18 years was too far-fetched for me to really get emotionally involved with. And everyone seemed so doomed from the get-go, that I didn't allow myself to get too attached anyway. I was ready to see them get picked off one by one.

Babel got a bunch of nominations for awards so it must be good. Apparently. But holy cow is it ever going to end? It felt like it was dragging on forever. And it was so bloody predictable. Of course they're the parents of the little kids. And of course the gun was from the guy the cops are looking for. Ya, ya, everybody's connected and we're all affecting one another all the time, blah blah blah. And isn't the jumping from one disparate plot to another to another just getting to be old hat by now?

I didn't care if the shot tourist survived or not. Whatever. The kids dying in the desert might suck, but I didn't know them that well. The boys playing with gun? Well, what did you expect, dad, giving the kids a gun and all? However, I was quite taken with the sexually-precocious girl. And I was outraged that we didn't get to see the final note she gave the cop. I really want to know what it says. I wonder if her dad was sexually abusing her at all, given her aggressive nature in that way. Or was it a suicide note? Out of the whole film, she was the only character I cared about at all. The rest were just in the way, annoying me, making me wait to see her scenario play out. Alone, that one girl's bit could have made an excellent short film. Altogether, not so good.

But, of course, because I'm regressing to a ten-year-old, I absolutely loved Night at the Museum. I was on the edge of my flipping seat, I kid you not, so concerned was I of the fate of these animals and tiny people. It's got that whole, "clap your hands if you believe so Tinkerbell can live" thing going on, which is okay and all. But more importantly, I've lived this job. I know what it is to be too cocky for my own good, and I know how it feels to have not read the instructions and to have to work from the seat of my pants. I do it every day! And, he keeps thinking and tries another new thing the next day, screwing up but still doing his best. That's what we do.

It falls apart a bit when he figures out exactly how to keep everything running smoothly. I prefer the idea that he'll keep having to think up new ways to make it all work. That resonates more with me. But then it might never really feel over. How can a Hollywood movie end if the problems aren't all solved to a fault?

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