Thursday, May 15, 2008

Recent Viewings

Thank heavens for Netflix. Especially since they tell us in a few months our tv screen will turn to static and we can throw away our rabbit ears antenna.

Spoilers ahoy.

No Country for Old Men. I preface this by saying how depressing it's been that not a single person I've talked to has recognized the title as an allusion to Yeats' "Sailing to Byzantium." Why We Homeschool.

Anyway I'd read McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses and Blood Meridian, and felt like I'd finished. The movie features his familiar Mystery of Evil character, a walking refutation of Hannah Arendt's thesis of the banality of evil, and at this point a kind of highbrow Elm Street Freddy. Yeah, he has his own sort of ethical code, gotcha. Next concept, please.

Cloverfield. Exactly like watching Eudoxus play Half-Life for two hours. All about the special effects, which frankly isn't a terrible reason for watching a movie, with standard horror flick plot, characters, dialogue, episodes. Look! The ginormous beast ravaging Manhattan has finally gone down under the military's bombs! Sure we can't actually see it through all the smoke, but surely it's dead at last! Let's all breathe a sigh of relief as the soundtrack swells! What could be bad?

Atonement. Pretty good. I haven't read the book--I remember DarwinCatholic didn't care for it--but the film version was effective. You get fair warning about the surprise ending when certain events play quickly backwards, particularly the un-typing of a crucial note, and when there's a sudden series of poor artistic choices: the incredible coincidences of the newsreel showing Chocolate Magnate and Lola to be married, in a chapel that happens to be near enough for Briony to attend; Robbie acting and speaking completely out of character in Cecilia's flat; the spurious, tacked-on happy ending for Robbie and Cecilia, filmed in a deliberately conventional style that doesn't fit the rest of the movie.


Anonymous Yahmdallah said...

Heck, I'd even read Yeats' "Sailing to Byzantium" back in school. The title rang a small bell, knew it had to be from somewhere, but I'm still ever so slightly ashamed.

I thought Cloverfield was clever in doing the POV thing, Blair Witch writ large with real special effects - until I saw the monster itself. We've been seeing that guy in Fangora for years now.

The wife wants to watch Atonement, so I'm sure I'll end up seeing it too. I've never been a fan of costume dramas. Another failing of my character.

I know you have a wee one, which kinda snuffs trips to the theatre for a bit, but Ironman is a blast. Even for those who typically don't like comic book fare.

7:54 AM  
Blogger The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

Just to show how unhip I am, I had to Google for "Fangoria" to find out what it was.

My mini-review of Atonement failed to complete its thought, which was that the artistic failures were only apparent, and in fact signaled the change of author from real to fictitious.

I'll have to see Ironman when it makes the Netflix queue. I actually like a wide spectrum of comics, having devoured my older brother's wide collection as a child. Every Marvel adaptation has me hoping for a glimpse of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Gen. Nick Fury, oddly longevitized WWII vet.

4:08 PM  

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