Saturday 19 December 2009

A time of goodwill to all movies

I feel so ashamed, sitting in my ivory tower (cunningly disguised as a mess of a spare room) pronouncing on the stupidity of the general public from whom I naturally exclude myself... and then I decide to watch 2012. 2012 film Disaster movies are my Achilles heel when it comes to good taste and I’m particularly vulnerable to the apocalyptic end of the world “we’re all goin’ to die” tale. An unimpressed colleague described the film as akin to being on an overlong rollercoaster. But despite the obvious plot devices, the naff dialog, the implausible escape from a seemingly certain end, the sense that one ought to be more emotionally involved when witness to the death of millions... Well put it this way; I knew it was rubbish but all I could manage was “wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee”.

It’s a film with a good cast that includes John Cusack (of the brilliant Grosse Pointe Blank), George Segal (a big name from the 70's) and Danny Glover (only two days from retirement). As mitigation I could suggest that they rose above the material but this would be to evade the truth. My work colleague described it as two and a half hours of her life wasted. I on the other hand will no doubt watch this ridiculous piece of rubbish again. Roland Emmerich flattens The White House once more and leaves my critical faculties in ruin. All I have to do now is enjoy James Cameron's Avatar and my journey to the dark side will be complete.

Friday 4 December 2009

When I was king, I was a truly great king

From director Spike Jonze, the man responsible for Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, comes his latest film, Where the Wild Things Are. Since I liked both those earlier films I have high hopes for this latest effort, indeed I’m counting on it to restore an eroded sense of wonder, if only a little.

It’s not that I haven’t seen any fulfilling films this year. I found the Danish film After the Wedding intensely moving; I saw it twice and cried both times, though that probably says as much about me as it does the film. I remember once watching The Elephant Man with my daughter and having to work hard at preventing her from seeing any tears; I’m not sure whether I was successful or whether I needed to be. Probably. I'll have to look into that.

Where The Wild Things Are
But this film adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s famous book promises something else. That sense of awe I felt as a child on returning from a voyage with Doctor Dolittle, the scene in Joe Versus the Volcano where Joe looks to the outsized moon and thanks God for his recaptured humanity, or the opening scene in Toys to lift my forgotten spirit and remind me of the glory of Christmas. Interesting that those two films are disliked intensely by a number of my friends and dismissed as mawkish sentimentality, though sometimes it seems any sentiment is regarded unfavourably.

Perhaps it’s unrealistic to expect so much but I stubbornly refuse to let that dent my enthusiasm; every so often we need to be reminded that the world can be beautiful. Will this new film suffice?