Monday, January 02, 2006

Mo' Movies

We've seen more movies in the last two weeks than we've seen all year. Here's a rundown on some of them. (Brokeback Mountain, which has been sold out at every showing since it got to Indy, is reviewed in another post so is not included here.)

Memoirs of a Geisha--Grade: B+

Saw this today with Dave. The story, like that of many women who historically have had few ways to maintain status or power independently of men, is not unfamiliar. The tone somehow manages not to be judgmental, however. While there are few surprises here, the film has a polished beauty and a haunted heart that seems true to this view of the geisha experience. If you are like me, after watching the refined gestures of geisha, you will be painfully aware of your posture for about the next two hours. Dave and I practiced geisha moves as we walked through Crate and Barrel on the way to the car.

Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe--Grade: A

With the kids packed off to Grandma and Grandpas for New Years, what did Duane and Todd want to see? A kid's movie. That was what I was thinking when we made our plans to see this adaptation of C. S. Lewis's first volume in the Narnia series. I liked it! In retrospect, had the kids been with us, they probably would have been freaked out by some of the toothy violence. The script adaptation is pretty true to the narrative. By far the most appealing character in my opinion was Tilda Swinton's White Witch. Ethereal, elegant, and understated-- I found myself wishing she would take some sensitivity courses so she could stay around a little longer. The story is tight, very little fluff other than what Lewis originally included. The middle part felt a little like a Sunday School lesson (is this the same Disney the religious right has been boycotting for the last 8 years?). But Lewis sort of wrote it that way, and all I can say is that every Sunday School programs should have this budget.

King Kong--Grade B-

King Long. About an hour too long. Oh, and kind of racist. It won't give away any key plot points to say that it is clear early on that the only non-stereotyped person of color (among thousands) won't make it out alive. Anne Darrow's (Naomi Watts) relationship with Kong is so convincing you get the creepy sense that had the ending been different the religious right would be forming mile-long protest lines in front of theaters about now. Naomi Watts and CGI animals and sets provide all of the redeeming qualities.


Wow. Who knew watching someone's obsession with himself and one horrific story could be so compelling? Phillip Seymour-Hoffman disappears and the impossibly affected Capote is reborn. Watch for portrayals (somewhat unflattering) of both Red and Blue America during the late 50s. Capote has something to say about the surprising price of changing the course of American literature forever.


Anonymous jennie said...

I love your movie reviews.

Hey, sorry to do this here, but will you please email me your mailing address? Thanks...

7:29 AM  

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