At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Consumed in April

The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)--The quibbles I have with this fade further into insignificance each time I see it. The best of the trilogy.A

After the Thin Man (1936)--A typical installment in the series: William Powell cracks jokes in between cocktails, Myrna Loy arches her eyebrows, and the unlikeliest person turns out to be guilty of murder.B

b420 (2005)--Maybe I'm overrating this because it was the only in-flight movie that was worth watching, but this did seem to be like an entertaining version of Last Life in the Universe: subtropical Asian setting (Macau, not Thailand), relationship between free-spirited girl and Nice Boy, color-saturated cinematography, gang violence subplot. Miki Yeung is appealing as the tousled, gangly, google-eyed heroine.B

The Great Ziegfeld (1936)--Long biopic of the titular Broadway producer. The musical numbers are kitschy but impressive.B

Spaceballs (1987)--Corny, as Brooks himself admits on the commentary track, but fun nonetheless. I still love the double allusion to Alien and Looney Tunes.B

Temptress Moon (1996)--Member of a Shanghai crime syndicate is sent by his boss on a mission of theft to the mansion where he was taken in as an orphan; when he meets his childhood sweetheart grown into a beautiful woman, his loyalty is tested. It's understandable that Kaige Chen, after the worldwide success of Farewell My Concubine, would attempt to replicate that success by incorporating many of the same elements: historical setting, a love triangle involving Gong Li and Leslie Cheung, opium abuse, a homosexual subplot. But the formula doesn't work as well here, maybe because the characters were too selfish for me to sympathize with.C

The Producers (2005)--Boring, not very well acted by Broderick and Thurman (though Nathan Lane has some energy). C

Rumor Has It (2005)--D


Blogger Felix said...

Have you ever seen the original Mel Brooks ... er ... production of The Producers? My curiosity about the remake is mainly limited to wondering about their interpretation of Springtime For Hitler.

And what are those quibbles with Fellowship that keep fading further?

8:32 AM  
Blogger Carlos said...

Hey Felix:

The "Springtime for Hitler" scenes in the remake seemed stiff to me. However, seeing a movie in economy-class after nine hours in the air may not be exactly ideal.

I might have mentioned some of the quibbles I had with FOTR back when I saw the movie the first time, but at the risk of repeating myself:

--Some juvenile cheesiness in the action scenes (e.g. Saruman spinning Gandalf on his head like a breakdancer, Legolas shooting two arrows at once or using arrows as daggers, one character (Legolas again, maybe?) using a shield as a sort of lethal frisbee. Still, nothing as bad as the scene in The Two Towers in which Legolas slides down the stairs on his shield while shooting arrows rapid-fire.)

--Too many cinematic cliches used to create suspense or surprise (e.g. the hand that grabs Frodo in his disheveled hobbit-hole turns out to be Gandalf's, the Balrog's whip snatching Gandalf at the very last second, the Ringwraiths stabbing at what turn out to be lumps under the covers).

--Having "Agent Smith" play Elrond was too distracting.

--Occasionally the CGI was too obviously such (e.g. the River Horses called up by Arwen)--but the combination of CGI and live-action is a pet peeve of mine which probably bothers other people less.

Still and all, a great movie.

9:48 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home