Tuesday, February 13, 2007

About Films

I saw this film at the dollar movie so it had a lot going against it from the start. The screen was small, the stereo sound was way too loud, and a guy on my isle was smoking grass. The opening scene involves a pack of indians killing a boar and then tricking one of the indians into eating the balls. The dialogue could have been lifted directly from american pie or some equivalent. I started to wonder what I had gotten into. As the movie progressed I realized how adept Mel Gibson was at setting up the story with real characters and moving it along. Eventually, the boar, the balls, and the relationships payed off. This film really kept me interested and entertained in a way that I haven't been for a while. Occassionally Mel Gibson goes too far with the violence, or uses too much dialogue. Also the script seems to want to punish it's characters more than necessary (much like passion of the Christ) but it never got rediculous. This is essentially a chase movie, and as such, it works really well. There are great moments of tension such as in the sacrifice scene where Jaguar Paw is put on the alter. This scene also conveys a spiritual subtext and gives meaning to the title of the film. In a way, this scene is kind of the climax of the film and it comes too early, but the film still manages to sustain afterwards and builds again to a nice third act surprise. This is not a low budget movie. If you were turned off by the trailer looking hoaky, don't worry, the visuals are great. What Mel Gibson does here as a story teller is very conventional, but the Native American setting gives it some nuance and allows it to feel fresh. The movie ended with a rain storm and when I left the theatre, it was pooring rain. Somehow, I made a nice connection with the film on a deeper level than I expected. Overall, I had a great time at the movies.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Queen

Finally, a good movie. I thoroughly enjoyed the Queen. I found the story quite fascinating. Helen Mirren did a great job and probably desrves to win the Oscar, however, I have only seen one other nominee. It was a much more interesting look at the life of royalty than Curse of the Golden Flower (but with a lot less cleavage). Apparently, all the stuff that was having to do with the royals was shot on 32mm whereas all the Tony Blair stuff was shot 16mm. This created kind of a nice contrast between tones of the two classes. Interesting idea. Anyway, I found the movie to be both educational and entertainging.