Saturday, November 27, 2010

MASH

M*A*S*H (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) Obscure. Obscured. Obscuring. MASH seemed blurry, unnecessarily complicated, and difficult to unpick, like some three-pound knot entirely in thread. I had an extremely difficult time understanding the significance of several of the shots - even to the point where some of them seemed like abstract photography, without the innate art value.
This film has undisputed cultural significance for the seventies, and the career of the director, but thematically, several elements emerge as gallingly un-PC. The sexism specifically appalled. It really sort of explains bra-burning, which I never quite understood.
Again, just like in Hitchcock's The Trouble with Harry I find myself sympathizing with the obvious antagonists. Major Hoolihan may have been written as a ridiculous and limited character, but the indignities she suffered at the hands of her co-workers could never be justified, even to protest a war. And when she acts justifiably hysterical, she is ignored by her superiors, and mocked by the camera. I truly felt sorry for her, and for a moment, I hated the men as they sat and laughed, confident that their violent voyeurism would be applauded.
If the creators of this film mean wartime attrocities to explain the behavior of these three seriously unhinged figures, they do little to link the two. Although a few images of blood and injury appear, they don't seem to mean anything to the rest of the film, as if two films were spliced together almost randomly. None of the events in the operating room seem to influence the dangerous hijinx outside it, which means they can't justify it either.
I found the scene sequence involving the Bud Cort character and Major Burns (avenged by Trapper) particularly significant, and remarkably lucid. The rest, however, skidded and jerked past, leaving a tangled mass of significant obscurity.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Widescreen Edition)Clearly Harry Potter is much less whiny in this film than in the book. I didn't absolutely hate him. I thought it was actually sympathetically played, and surprisingly, well-played. I didn't enjoy hating Imelda Staunton, whose acting has always impressed, which was a switch, since I thoroughly enjoyed hating David Tennant in the previous film, and I'm an immortal Whovian.

I love Luna.

The director did very well distilling a complex story into a couple of hours. Die-hards will naturally complain that their favorite scenes were left out. I don't recall watching Harry and Cho make out in the film more than that first kiss (although I admit, Nanowrimo distracted me), which is certainly a blessing. We get it. All of the facts included in the film make sense in the realm of the film. I can only imagine the nightmare that would have been for a conscientious director.

The effects were a bit confusing, which I think was the idea. Crisp wizard battling might have become a bit too ambitious. Sirius deserved more time, and more mourning, but I think the director needed to mitigate the stifling depression that enshrouds the piece as a whole. I'm sorry that non-readers don't understand everything that happens around that door, but as it is, it made enough sense to be getting on with, as I mentioned before.

I'm wasting words. Back to Nanowrimo.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Widescreen Edition) (Harry Potter 4) Just a sidenote, I think "chalice" is a better word than "goblet," especially in this context.

This movie actually made me laugh more than the others. I'm glad. I need a light note before I launch into The Order of the Phoenix tonight.

Goblet of Fire definitely pivots the entire series. Up until this film, the series has been light, and adolescent. From this point on, from Cedric's death, it's all misery and allegory. It's a difficult note for a film to end on, and it certainly showed the strain. The ending didn't even seem bitter-sweet; it wasn't deep enough for that. It felt. . . empty, like the director was in shock when he filmed it. Like the audience was when they watched. The colorfulness of the wizarding world no longer seemed cheerful and wondrous, but turned into something a little more Tim Burton (or Edward Gorey) than the audience perhaps expected. It's dark Disney. It's a twisted childhood.

I remember loving the flying scenes, and being grateful they weren't too CGIed. I hated the time-travel thing.

Must write. OotP later.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Carolina Moon

Carolina Moon Apparently I've got a thing for Claire Forlani, but she keeps getting stuck in all these unfortunate movies, playing the same character. Still, I'm going to blame the directors and/or writers. I think the only movie Ms. Forlani really stands out in is The Medallion with Jackie Chan. Loved that one!

Anyway, this film is necessarily more romance than thriller, although it had its intense elements as well. The chemistry between characters/actors really impressed me. I think the moment I found out it was based on a book by Nora Robers, I knew where it was going, and sort of tried to ignore the inevitability of it all. I knew whodunnit by the second scene, and I HATE figuring it out. I go out of my way to NOT figure it out, but it sort of thumped me on the head early on anyway.

Unless you're in the mood for a pretty intense romance (or you're Miriam), skip this one. I don't even care what rottentomatoes gave this film.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lady in White

The Lady in White
I actually recognized several actors from this film. For an indy, this film gets a passing grade, although I'd hate to see it on a curve up against big studio films. The plot was regrettably predictable. I admire the periodicity of the thing, though. The crew caught the fifties pretty well. See it only as a curiosity, not for any real criticism. (incidentally, this film rated a whopping 78% on the tomatometer. I can't really see why, unless the film gets a bonus for being indy).

I'm afraid Nanowrimo is going to cut my entries short for November, but fortunately, I don't see any really important films on my queue for a while, so it shouldn't make a difference. Stephen, I promise to make an exception for any Harry Potter films I see.