Monday, July 10, 2006

Vacation Hijinx

I saw a lotta movies this week, all four of which I enjoyed, which proves something about suckerdom or how fucking fantastic the movie industry really is. Which is more likely?

Anyway, the most embarrassing first: I enjoyed Superman Returns, though the Spacey hump-stab was disturbing. Loads of little things to quibble about, but the big complaint was...if you're gonna set your hero up as a god, what the fuck's the deal when he's absent? Every canoodle with Kate meant some burned baby or squashed grandma somewhere, so get a move on, underwear pervert, or at least mention it in passing you amoral fuck. Oh, and the kid? Read this. Nevertheless, enjoyable.

Brick was really fun, although I went with someone who dropped a bomb: she'd never seen The Maltese Falcon. Consequently she giggled a lot less than I did. It must mean something when one's enjoyment of a movie depends very much on one's enjoyment of another movie, but I figure I would have been entertained anyway. Is Ulysses a standalone good read? I dunno, I've always avoided it. Ridiculous high-school noir? I'll drop dollars for that.

Thank You For Smoking was a lot of fun with sympathy developed for Mr. Tobacco Lobbyist. The thing is, idiots in movies are always easily disposed of and clever people sympathetic. Was anyone really rooting for justice in The Last Seduction? No, you wanted to see the smart person put one over on all those dummies. I await a movie about a clever German collector of vintage furniture post-Kristallnacht, or maybe a droll and graceful Khmer Rouge executioner. Those victims'll be such fools it'll be a pleasure to see them exterminated for profit/ideology. But hey, movies don't kill people, people kill people, and Bugs Bunny was always plenty sadistic in my favourite cartoons.

Last I saw A Scanner Darkly, which I looked forward to/dreaded. I thought Waking Life was a very polished turd, so exceptionally polished that I wanted the technique applied to a movie that was, you know, good. And lo, A Scanner Darkly is good. I've always thought that Philip K. Dick was a hack who somehow got addled enough to fool people into the illusion of talent (I've read a few of his books, including this one which I'd completely forgotten) and the slacker talk Linklater has pushed in the past ordinarily makes me heave, but they smack together in a surprisingly tight way. The miserable circumstances of the characters lives are rendered watchable and gorgeous by the technique, and there's more of a plot than I expected, meaning less jiggery-pokery about the nature of reality than feared. The funny bits were funny. I love that previous sentence. One caveat: Keanu Reeves is somehow no longer convincing when he plays someone with a faulty brain. You can ordinarily rely on the guy when he's playing stupid/ignorant/confused, but this time no go really. He should start exploring the psychology of malfunctioning emotionless robots, and he'll hit his stride.

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