Monday, 21 February 2011

Quadruple Bill Mini Musings: Two Very Good, One Decent, One Dreadful...

I've been aware of Wes Anderson for quite a while, but for whatever reason I'd never seen any of his stuff - until recently - with Fantastic Mr Fox, and now Rushmore. The latter is less a cohesive A-to-B plot (with similarly structured subplots) than it being more a collection of generally-related sequences and characters, but all underpinned by a slightly skewed humour, and awkward intelligence - which is well portrayed on-screen by Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray. Odd and charming at the same time, the central plot of a student attending a posh school who falls in love with a teacher, gets kicked out, and faces rivalry from an elder gent has been done before - or elements of that, in certain ways at least - but in the hands of Anderson & Co it feels fresh and satisfyingly quirky.

The Social Network:
It's David Fincher, so I was going to watch it no matter what, but the idea of Fincher making "a movie about Facebook" was a particularly odd-sounding thing, however it's not a movie about people poking, tagging, liking and generally annoying each other with embarrassing photos from the night before - it's actually about how an idea can at first be generated, then evolve, and go on to not only change the world (and how hundreds upon hundreds of millions of people interact daily), but also destroy friendships along the way.

The Social Network isn't the true story, but then it's not a false story either. Nobody will ever know the truly true story, so it's a version of the story - and a well told, and skilfully performed one at that, replete with blisteringly fast dialogue and off-kilter scoring, that helps turn a story about entrepreneurs and legal battles into a passionate tale of the fragility of human interaction.

Far from making any of the players heroes or villains, Sorkin's script is complex and subtle in its shaping of your opinions of these characters - in that it merely guides you to make your own opinions along the way, and then modify them continually. In lesser hands it would just be a tale of 'some nerd screws his friend out of a shedload of money and gets insanely rich doing it' - but Sorkin's script, Fincher's direction, and the cast's performances elevate it far beyond such simplicities.

Stylishly precise, like all of Fincher's work, it's a surprisingly fascinating flick that deserves to be held well above the dismissively ill-informed "Facebook Movie" moniker it initially attracted.

Miller's Crossing:
Being that True Grit was just released, a handful of Coen brothers flicks are appearing on the movie channels at the moment, and this was one I hadn't seen. A prohibition era gangster tale of a right-hand-man who gets caught between two warring factions as he struggles to pay off his gambling debts. To be honest I struggled a bit with the characters along the way, getting lost with which name belonged to who, and how everybody fitted together, and indeed I didn't find the plot particularly enthralling. However, it is the Coen brothers, so it was still worth watching, but it wasn't one of my favourite flicks of theirs. I've seen it once, so that'll do me.

Clash of the Titans (2010):
Heaven's above, this was shit. Sometimes a movie can bore you into reading a magazine, or staring out the window, but this movie bored me into nothingness. A bunch of limp set-up happens, then some CGI, then some giant Scorpions, then some travelling, then some manky old hags holding an eyeball (the Stygian witches), then a laughably fatal encounter with Medusa, and then the Kraken (or "Craaah-kehn" as Hades keeps pronouncing it) makes a lot of noise and gets killed pretty damn quickly. The end.

I haven't seen the original in many, many years, but I'd much rather watch that with it's charming and skilled stop-motion animation, than this modern-day load of old cobblers. I mean bloody hellfire was it dull.


Oh and by the way - this is blogpost #600.


Benjamin said...

I LOVE Rushmore!

Yes it's less cohesive than A Life Aquatic but Schwartzman's character is so awesome! The plys he uts on are so amazing and yet the acting in them is still the awkward sub standard high school acting you'd expect. The contrast is hilarious! I must watch it again some time.

Three Sheds said...

I have avoided watching the Clash of the Titans remake; I was contemplating seeing it in the cinema, I put if off & then heard bad things about it so haven't bothered thus far. Don't like to be automatically uppity about remakes (certainly if i haven't even seen them with my own eyes) as I believe good can come of re-imagining a story but I've pretty much concluded that I'm not missing out on anything here. I absolutely adore the original film; it was one of those films I used to watch at a very young age (it seemed to be perpetually on the telly and i didn't even know what it was called until years later) - it frightened me and intrigued me. I remember Jo Wall and me doing impressions of the witches in the playground at primary school ('The eye....'). I have developed a very nostalgic attachment to the original and the memory of watching it originally to the point where I even find it strange to be watching it through adult eyes (as a young child films aren't really films; they're essentially reality). Needless to say, a dodgy remake of this would probably send me over the edge (bit dramatic, but you catch my drift). Shame.