Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Screen Time

Of my vague resolutions the only one I’ve really made much head way with is my resolution to watch more films. Not exactly a difficult aim and quite an enjoyable one. So since the beginning of the year I’ve seen three films in the cinema, plus one regular film club screening.

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
The previews described it as “part heist movie, part Greek tragedy” but it was pretty much all Greek tragedy really. It had that awful inevitability about it, where you want to scream “Don’t do that. That’s a really bad idea!” and you just know its going to end badly for everyone concerned. It didn’t end quite badly enough for Ethan Hawke’s character in my opinion, but that’s just because I have an unexplainable dislike of him.

No Country for Old Men
Its not that I didn’t understand it or that I’m a heathen who only likes blockbuster action films, but really I thought that was one of the most over-rated films I’ve ever seen. Every review I’d read of it, the reviewer was practically wetting themselves over it. But it did nothing for me. I didn’t hate it but it didn’t seem anything that special. The phrase "Emperors New Clothes" sprung to mind. Yes, it looked beautiful – give the cinematographer an Oscar by all means, but then again how difficult is it to make a good looking film with a million dollar budget? I've seen lots of good looking films. Sometimes I want something more.

Frank and Cindy
The film club screening this month was a documentary about a one-hit wonder musician and his wife, as filmed by her son. I’d never heard of Frank’s group Oxo who had one hit in the USA in the 80s, but that didn’t matter. Unlike No Country for Old Men, it didn’t look good. It won’t be winning any cinematography awards anytime soon but it had something more. It was funny, it was touching, it was interesting, it was original. Unfortunately it may never come to a cinema near you but it is still going round various festivals.

Courtesy of the Sunday Times, we went to a preview screening of this last night. A comedy about teenage pregnancy doesn’t sound the most promising (I was half expecting something like a Ken Loach film!) but it was brilliant. It was funny and heart-warming and really properly feel good, which is saying something as very little usually makes me feel good. I liked everything about it - the music, the titles and since I no longer have a father, I would like to be adopted by her father in the film.

My only qualms with it is the way it is being marketed as being a script by a stripper turned writer – actually she was an advertising executive turned stripper first of all, but that doesn’t make for such good copy.

The people coming out of the cinema behind me had a strange complaint about it though. They didn’t believe the girl was 16 as "she acted more like a 12 year old with her constant drinking of Sunny Delight". This wasn’t a major part of the plot and seemed a very small odd thing to pick on, but perhaps they were students doing a thesis on “the consumption of soft drinks in contemporary cinema”.


M said...

Saw Juno this past Saturday night. Liked it...really liked Ellen Page in it. I found her to be a fairly believable 16-yr old, with the possible exception of the level of maturity (and lack of emotion) she managed to conjure up at such an age and in such a situation. Also, the whole pregnancy was treated more as an ignorable nuisance by Bleeker and his family...rather than a serious subject to be dealt with. In fact, I found the reaction of all the parents to be a bit too matter of fact and oddly lacking. Would have never been the case at my house when I was 16.

Have been meaning to see 'No Country' for a while now. Yours is the first poor review I've read on it! So I know what you mean...the expectation is high going in, and that often ruins a film for me.

Mellifluous Dark said...

I saw the trailer for Juno and it made me smile but it also gave the impression that the pregnancy was no big deal. I'd like to see the whole film, though, then maybe I'll be in a better position to criticise...

'Before the Devil...' sounds like Eastenders!!

SandDancer said...

I think the attitude towards the pregnancy from the parents was a reflection on the strong-headedness of Juno's character and I didn't feel that Bleecker's character saw it as a nuisance - more that he was less mature than her and really didn't know how to deal with it.