There are no bats in this movie.
No one sucks a potato through a straw.
Neither the best boy nor the gaffer ever worked with Trent Lott.
Astrology plays no meaningful role.
Queen Victoria expressed no known opinion regarding this film.
No vehicle of mass conveyance plunges over a cliff.
The credits were not signaled in morse code by Bill Robinson.
There is no mysterious pattern of hair loss among the cast members.
The screenwriter did not go on to a successful career in politics.
There are no scenes in courtrooms, mining pits, or abattoirs.
Nothing Pauline Kael has said is likely to change anyone's mind about this film.
If you cut this film into millimeter-wide strips and strung them all together, it would not reach the moon.
The plot does not turn on a deathbed confession about the oatmeal.
The film never made the American Legion's censorship list.
It is no more nutritious than most films. Probably less.
I don't remember whether mumblety-peg occurs, but it is of no great importance.
If the male lead were dropped on your foot, it would hurt.
It was not filmed in feel-o-rama.
You can't roller-skate in a buffalo herd.
Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is all in your head, as usual.
It is not NORMAN... IS THAT YOU?
My roommate has a cat, Milo. A neurotic cat, but until recently within normal cat neurosis territory. But my roommate has begun a relationship that has him outside the apartment a great deal more than previously, and unfortunately Milo turns out to be a Desperately Needy cat, starved for attention after mere minutes of solitude.
I am friendly to cats, but allergic. Petting is out of the question; I swell up, choke, go blind, die a dozen unpleasant deaths. Milo begs for love, and though I cannot touch him, I speak to him kindly, endeavor to make him understand that his problems are heard, that he is appreciated and loved and that someday his master will return and shower him with the affection to which he is so manifestly entitled.
No more. Yesterday, as I prepared to meet my sweetheart to see a movie, the phone rang. My roommate's phone was closest -- he was gone, naturally -- and as I answered it, Milo ran up behind me and bit me on the fucking leg. Hard enough to draw blood. I whacked him with the phone receiver -- I'm sorry, but he was out of line -- yelled at him, poured disinfectant on the wound, and yelled at him some more. Not to put too fine a point on it, I was fucking freaked out; blood running down my leg, wound swelling, cat running around howling. Not fun.
Then Velma & I went to see Shadow of the Vampire. It was good and creepy, but I'm seeing Nosferatu in the cat's fuzzy face now.
One of the changes in my life is movies. Reading is now very hard for me; I can read, but it's ten times as laborious -- still -- and it's exhausting. But movies is easier. So I've begun, late in my life, teaching myself the classics. One of my lists is Roger Ebert's 4-star movies. So far, I have watched The Thief Of Baghdad, In a Lonely Place, 12 Angry Men, and The 400 Blows.
I watched The 400 Blows yesterday. And I discovered another dismaying thing: if it is not English, I have to expend translation time -- ten times as hard, basically -- trying to keep up, flickering my eyes up and down, everything watching, not comfortable, not lost in the movie. By the time it's ending, I'm again exhausted. The 400 Blows is really good, but I've going to have to watch it again, tomorrow, because I was literally lost for much of it.
The ending shot was powerful, though.
Following this week's release of our new Kevin Kline/Busta Rhymes musical starring the great Ed Asner, SKIP TO MY LOU, Cinema Virtuel studios is proud to announce our exciting schedule of releases for the next few weeks. Hold on to your popcorn! (But not too tight or a clump will pop out the top and get grease all over you.)
FRUITING BODIES (October 2007)
A gay ghost story based lightly upon the true events in Banff last winter. Directed by Cameron Crowe, written by Roger S.H. Schulman in his live-action debut, starring Martin Henderson and Bruce Willis, and featuring William Shatner in a career-capping performance as a rhombus.
THIS TIME FOR SURE (October 2007)
Don Roos writes and directs this wacky mistaken-identity time-travel romance. Kelly Macdonald can't tell rival scientists Tom Hanks and Brad Pitt apart, and neither can Christopher Walken and Jeff Goldblum (co-starring as the scientists' older selves)! Featuring Jude Law as the guy who can tell everybody apart.
LESTAT, C'EST MOI (November 2007)
Outcast French vampire of royal lineage with paranoid delusions imagines he has returned in the form of a giant centrifuge to avenge the reign of terror. A satiric farce masterpiece from Jeff Stockwell and Peter Farrelly, starring Mike Myers as the vampire and Catherine Keener, in a tour de force reminiscent of Alec Guiness, as Robespierre, Danton, and Maurice Chevalier.
Later in November we also have a football mystery, DEEP COVER; a western historical epic romance, STETSON'S STEPSONS; and a courtroom hostage drama, JUDICIAL RESTRAINTS.
Please address all queries to publicity director Mindy the Amazing Solar-Powered Skinner Box.
I saw Bend It Like Beckham yesterday. It was pretty good, though I doubt I ever need to see it again. My interest rarely flagged, but nothing about it inspired any intense reaction, either (except for a couple of laugh out loud jokes, one of them a sports joke, which I won't spoil).
The thing that surprised me, inasmuch as it was playing in a hip art-house theatre, is how completely conventional it was. It's about a teenage Indian girl in England who has a great talent for football, and is recruited by a white girl to play for an all-girls team, but whose traditional parents completely disapprove of her talent and forbid her to play, forcing her to sneak around.
The movie develops its storylines in familiar, American-movie ways. There's nothing very subtle about it. You have the second-generation immigrant fighting to fit in while fighting her traditionalist parents and culture; the girl buddies who are severed over a mutual interest in the same boy; the sports story of adversity and come-from-behind individual triumph (after the mandatory individual failure in mid-story). None of these storylines is developed with any originality. Both girls are even saddled with obstructionist mothers and softer fathers.
The biggest irritation about the movie is the heavy reliance on music montages. Man, I hate that device, and there are at least half a dozen instances in this movie. Every time it happened -- quick cutting that never lets you look at any image for more than a second or two -- it reminded me of naked expository passages in prose, a lazy way of communicating information that ought to be embedded in the story itself. It also reminded me of how masterfully Peter Weir does music scenes with no dialogue in his movies: the big difference is that Weir doesn't do quick cutting, he lets a scene languorously unfold to music; it still feels like a story being told, just not with words. (A good example is the barn-raising scene in Witness.)
It also indulges one of the worst cliches of sports movies: the climactic triumph in slow motion. This isn't just hackneyed; it robs the scene of power, in my opinion. Slow motion is great for close examination of action and detail, but real-time is far more effective for conveying a vividly impressive athletic achievement, and emotional power.
Each of the storylines is wrapped up happily and neatly, in each case a little too neatly to be entirely believable, but very much in accordance with Hollywood style.
That said, while it had nothing original, it did what it did well; the cliches were cliches, but they weren't clumsy or stupid. The story unfolded at a good pace, with a fair amount of wit and believably human dialogue; all the performances were good, and John Rhys-Meyers fans should note that he plays the girls' coach (and love interest) and carries the part well, despite the occasionally by-the-numbers Supportive and Self-Searching dialogue he has to utter.
It's pleasantly diverting, but despite the potentially serious cultural and gender story, never aspires to be anything more. Not a waste of time or money; won't stick in my head a year from now. Pretty much the definition of a three-star movie.