Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Inputs and Output

Well, just to quiet the voices in my head for a bit, here's a list of movies I've seen recently, followed by my thoughts on them. I don't know why I feel compelled to address such things, but here I go.

Syriana -- Deep, fractured, chaotic, intense, jarring. I greatly appreciate and revel in how much was going on with this movie amidst the 3 "main" characters (Clooney, Damon, & Wright), players who really nevr saw each other or interacted the entire movie. What made this movie most enjoyable (and worthy of several repeat viewings) was that the chaos of the storylines did a rather good job of representing and illuminating the vast spectrum of perspectives and interplay that surrounds and threatens to engulf the actual grab for oil in the Gulf Region. No matter what you think of the politics of oil, please go see this movie. I will be seeing it again as well, if only to better absorb what's going on so that I might be able to discuss the movie's concepts and themes more ably.

Pride and Prejudice -- OK. So, this is a blatant admission of my love for 2 things: Kiera Knightly and Focus Features. When I first saw the preview for this movie, I thought, "Well, she's a beautiful woman, but do we really need another version of this movie? If I want to see this book appropriately retold, I'd go see the Colin Firth-led A&E/BBC version of Pride & Prejudice." But then, the words "Focus Features" floated across my eyes and into my ears and I knew that I would be viewing this movie and most likely be buying it. In 2 hours, KK & FF do a great job of catching the main themes, main storylines, and main drama from the book. To do a more complete job, go watch the Colin Firth version. The actors they chose all did a rather exemplary job in their roles. I was especially impressed with Jena Malone's work and British accent, being an American actress whose most recent big role was playing the main character in "Saved". All in all, I was struck by often I resemble Mr. Darcy in my inability to speak upon what I'm really feeling in my heart and in my head. If they come into conflict, my head wins, since it can more capably censor what comes out of my mouth, thus, keeping my out of trouble (and also out of love). In conclusion though, I cried. I really did and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Walk the Line (3 times) -- Go read my post a couple weeks or so ago on Johnny Cash.

Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire (2 times) -- I love these books. I love these movies. I came late to reading the books, mostly because I initially dismissed them as cheesy, children's fantasy novels that were beneath my imagination and intellect. Well, after watching the first 3 movies and discovering that there were many people whose opinions and literary preferences I respected reading these novels, I picked up the first one and was hooked immediately. And the beauty of Rowlings' writing is that she just gets better and better. All that to say this -- while I really enjoyed the fourth movie, it wasn't as good as Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban. What I feel that the screenwriters are running into is that, as the books are becoming dramatically lengthier, they are having severe issues with cutting out & adapting the book for movie viewing. These are the same issues that Peter Jackson had with LOTR and he created three 3-1/2 hour movies, while the HP movies are between 2 & 2-1/2 hours. There just isn't enough time within the timeframe the director is given to capture the magic of the books. Now, I do feel that the actors portraying Harry, Ron, & Hermoine are simply coming into their own, embodying the complexities of adolescence with aplomb and tense conflict. I just can't wait to see how Daniel Radcliffe will present the thoroughly and perpetually pissed-off (& pissed-on) Harry Potter in Book 5 (Order of the Phoenix).

Oh well, enough with this. I'll be discussing Rent & Bee Season at a later date, if I feel like it. I really enjoyed both movies, but there are some issues I had with them (Rent being a musical and Bee Season being bizarre for bizarre's sake). Thoughts?? Considerations?? Mutual affirmation??

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