Thursday, 6 March 2008

My Week in Film


This could more accurately be called my last 2 weeks in film, even though I only snuck in 6 films. Only. Well, that is enough for two weeks I think. I spent a fair amount of time at the theatre, but up first are the older titles visited.

First up is the 1987 crime/sci-fi flick The Hidden (imdb link). Reason to check this one out was reading a review on someone's site that pegged it as a good over looked film, and I can't for the life of me remember where (if it's you, let me know I'll link ya!). I unfortunately didn't 100% agree with their opinion, and albeit if I had seen it in 1987 it likely would have made it to some kind of personal cult classic weird favourite category a la Amazon Women on the Moon, but seeing it now it felt overly violent with a thin premise, dated effects and stiff acting. I was surprized I made it through the whole film.

I also caught up with Lucid (imdb link), which has been on my radar since TIFF 2005 and then again when released in 2006. This film really impressed me. It does require some suspension of disbelief, but I happily gave it that. It's a fantastic Canadian film that is little quirky and bizarre but very intelligent. I'd recommend seeing it without knowing too much about it, and I highly recommend checking it out.

With the new Provincial "Family Day" holiday added in February, what better way to spend it with family? I headed out to Enchanted with my Mom over at the Bloor. Seems like a fair few families had this idea as well. It's been quite a while since I've seen a film with that many kids running about. I had a feeling some of the patrons weren't regulars and therefore weren't aware that they usually wait until the popcorn line clears to start the film, and I'll tell you it was one heck of a line. I'll admit I didn't always know they did this, but now that I do I appreciate it. Anyhow, I was there more for the movie than the popcorn (or was I?), and I am surprized to say I was shocked as I felt it was a bit of a throw back in terms of gender stereotyping. I realize it's Disney so that isn't so surprizing, but every single review I read and person I talked to loved this movie and no one mentioned this at all. Not to say it didn't have it's moments, Amy Adams was fantastic, James Marsden was perfect and there was creative animation and catchy songs. But overall I was overwhelmed by the 'traditional values' depicted. I will admit I'm not the most romantic person you'll ever meet but wow, it just wasn't working for me. Maybe it will in time.

Next up is The Band's Visit, which I truly enjoyed. It has a lovely understated quality to it and allows the viewer to take their time to experience the cross-cultural nature of the film. Another aspect I appreciated about the film was that it felt real. Not the bear-your-heart-and-soul-with-your-last-dying-breath over the top real, but what would actually happen in the situation real. It's also one of the few times I was thankful for the subtitled English, and I loved how all of the credits were in both languages. Add to that the stellar performances, including the powerhouse Ronit Elkabetz and restrained Sasson Gabai and you are in for a treat.

My next trip to the theatre brought me to Jumper. When asked recently what I thought about it I said I found it a little better than Transformers and I didn't really like Transformers. Jumper starts with a great idea, but unfortunately I found that it was devoid of characters whose morals I'd agree with and it's hard to like a film when that is the case. Also, although there wasn't a lot of violence I found what they did have was based in cruelty and again that doesn't work for me. On a happy note, it is always great to see Jamie Bell and he did such a great job, I was also quite entertained by 2 guys in my row who had a during the credits discussion about the theory of the film how it all worked. Also, I got a fair amount of knitting done (see below). Anyone need a scarf?

On to another treat, I headed off to see Be Kind Rewind with my friend Danette on what I can say was one of the coldest nights of the year. But, we were there, ready for some giggles and headed up the mammoth escalator at Scotiabank and noticed music playing, and then there were lights... and then there were... cheerleaders? And then there was... Will Ferrell. Whoa. There he has, with oodles of people and cameras around him. The theatre was doing a few advance screenings of Semi-Pro. The amazing thing was how calm everyone was. There were lines to meet him and fans and curious bypassers and it was all very civil. So, I snapped the shot below and off we were to get popcorn and enjoy our flick. Be Kind Rewind was enjoyable and innovative, although I found it to be more of a drama than the comedy it was presented as. Is it funny? Sure thing, I was in stitches for some of it, but that isn't the main focus. I would also say that many of the innovative ideas and images were shown in the previews and trailers and that was too bad, I was hoping to see many more of these in the film itself. It was refreshing to see that level of creativity (as opposed to CGI) in a current film.

Awards season comes to a close with both the Oscar's and the Genie's being presented in the recent past. 2007 was a solid year for film and it was great to see so many wonderful films get recognized. It was fun to live chat though the Oscar's with the folks over at Row Three, and I also twittered though both awards. That led to being asked by Brian Stelter of The New York Times my opinion of the broadcast. See my response here on The New York Times TV blog, TV Decoder.

Preview of the week: Shine a Light (trailer here), the Rolling Stones documentary directed by Martin Scorsese. I'm not usually a fan of concert films, save The Song Remains the Same and Woodstock but this has the whole documentary/behind the scenes feeling to it as well. I find it compelling every time I see it.

This coming week I'm planning on seeing: 2046 (hopefully the third try is the charm!), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (original & remake) and whatever else shows up from to my doorstep!

above: longest popcorn line in recent history, but it was every so buttery good!

above: pre-Jumper knitting

above: post-Jumper knitting

above: Will Ferrell promoting Semi-Pro


Sacred Suzie said...

Woohoo! Thank you for sharing that link to your review of the Oscars Shannon, that was the coolest. I loved reading it and seeing your name in print. Excellent!

Lucid sounds really promises, a truly Canadian film that I hope I get to see one day.

I loved Enchanted solely because it was fun and romantic. Yes, the stereotypes were awful, so true! I guess I was just desperate for some escapism since most of the films of 2007 were so serious and brutal. It was great to just go out and have fun with the gals, all our boys were out at sea.

Marina said...

Loads of good updates! Some thoughts:

Good point on "Enchanted" though I'll admit to being taken enough with the story to nearly totally overlook most of the stereotypes (though the closing with her turning into a clothing designer made me perk up a bit for some reason).

"Lucid"....if I remember right, that DVD cover has a guy drawing horses on a wall? I've walked by it countless times at the video store always meaning to rent it and I never have. I've added it to my Zip list but I may still pick it up before it ever comes in the mail.

I'm jealous. I want "Family Day".

And the Will Ferrell story is pretty funny. I wonder if he came to Vancouver too? I probably missed it. Oh well.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

I'll hope I can overlook what I saw in Enchanted in later viewings, mostly I was surprized I hadn't heard anyone mention this aspect.

Lucid is the one with the guy drawing on the wall, although I think it's sheep. It took me much longer to get to it than I had hoped, but was well worth watching.

This was the first year of "Family Day". For some reason, the name of the holiday grates me. Although having a stat holiday in Feb kinda rocks.

Nayana Anthony said...

OK, the knitting was awesome. I knitted all the way through "Hot Rod".

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