The Man Who Wasn’t There

So yesterday I went with Day and Nicole to see ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There’, the latest opus from Les Frères Coen. As usual, it was beautifully shot, as Roger Deakins helmed the camera. If you don’t know, it is a sort of homage to film noir, and most of the film is in black and white (I suspect digitally-created black and white, rather than black and white film, for them to have gotten such nice hues all the time – somewhat like the sepia of ‘O Brother Where art Thou?’).

I thoroughly enjoyed the film, although I found it a little empty – lacking some sort of meaning/message/heart/what-have-you. Of course, if one reads American Film Noir as North America’s response to post-war Eurpoean existentialism, this makes some sense. Like much of Film Noir, it embraces the common man’s response to the seemingly random meanderings that life takes you on. It also includes some great dialogue that I’m tempted to think has been lifted directly from old films.

Sitting behind us, however, were some people who talked all the way through the movie. This over-enthusiastic idiot repeatedly made comments such as ‘excellent!’, ‘wonderful!’ and other gushing tributes to the film. Most humorous, was during a preview of Blackhawk Down, we heard ‘which war was that?’. (If you don’t know anything about the story behind Blackhawk Down, have a look at Philidephia Online’s excellent repository of information at Blackhawk Down : An American War Story. It’s an intriguing look at the event surrounding the ‘even’t in Mogadishu back in 1993.

Phantom Edit Redux

So I downloaded a copy of the Phantom Edit, which I discussed yesterday and watched it. Well scanned it, as the sound (when it was there) was atrocious. Mostly I was watching for the scene edits. And really, it seemed a much better movie. All sorts of Jar Jar Binks fucking up scenes were eliminated, as well as several of his speaking scenes. He became much more bearable, and the Gungans in general elevated to a mysterious race, as opposed to a fairly laughable one. I couldn’t tell much about how they edited Anakin’s ebulliance, but they definitely cut out a few of the more joyous scenes, leaving him more somber and troubled, as really, he should me, neh? Finally, much of the extraneous action sequences have been eliminated (most notably the entire underwater sequence getting to the Naboo capital). The battle scenes were also cleaned up and simplified somewhat (although I can’t tell exactly how without watching the 2 versions side by side).

So overall, I grant the editing some good marks, but whoever encoded the copy I have really sucks. Stupid no sound! I’d like to see a version ripped from the DVD version, just to get the crystal clarity, etc, etc, but it was worth the 6 hours it took me to download, IMO.

phantom edit

In the way that memes tend to flow, there’s an article on Salon about a fan edit of Episode I: The Phantom Menace. It’s an interesting piece, and raises several questions about what one can and can’t do with a video/DVD once you own it. I appreciated the fact that the original editor apparently did not want to violate copyright laws by mass-distributing their version of the movie.

And the edit sounds appealing –

Twenty minutes have been cut from the original 133, and as a result the film is tighter and faster. Jar-Jar, who has been demoted to an almost silent supporting role, is actually enjoyable. (A different “Phantom Edit” has dubbed over Jar-Jar with an alien voice, giving him subtitled dialogue that turns the gibbering idiot into a wise sage, spouting pearls like “Children and fools ask more questions” and “Pride can blind you from the truth.”) Likewise, young Anakin — whose shouts of “Yahoo!” and “Whoopee!” made many “Star Wars” fans grimace — is a thoughtful, much quieter protagonist.

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If anyone has a copy of this edit, I’d love to have a look at it. (I could find it here, but I’m lazy).

Serendipity

I went and saw Serendipity last night with Leah.

I can’t say I terribly enjoyed it. It was decent enough to serve it’s purpose, which was to get us out of the house and doing something/anything for a couple of hours that didn’t involve computers, and was really very sweet. Plus, Kate Beckinsale (Sara) appeals to my cross-class fantasies of the rich girl from Knightsbridge to my poor boy from Croydon thing. Not that I’m from Croydon. But my grandparents used to live in a suburb of Croydon, so there. Anyhoo, I digress. Now, I really like John Cusack (Jonathon) as an actor. I think he makes every film he’s in better than it should be by all rights, and the same holds true here. Jeremy Piven, who I also quite like, also features prominently in it. But the problem with the film is that all four of the main characters were psychos! I couldn’t identify with any one of them! I couldn’t imagine wanting to spend my life with any of them! John Corbett (Lars) (of Northern Exposure fame) plays Yanni. Only more pretentious (‘why doesn’t the tribe invite me to their feast?’). He’s also incredibly self-absorbed (trying to fit the honeymoon into his tour plans). Sara is flighty and new-agey in the worst of ways. Jonathon is obsessive/compulsive (not to mention that he’s set to marry a woman he doesn’t love). Bridget Moynahan (Hally) is not really a character, beyond her wedding obsession (that she’s planned since she was little – all she ever wanted to do was to get married).

Anyhoo. I don’t recommend it. But it would be a decent Sunday movie, I suppose.

Oh, and I slept the sleep of the dead last night

Undeclared.

So I watched undeclared the other night, and low and behold, Lloyd Hathe, the british Drama Major is none other that sweet little Nathan from the original ‘Queer as Folk’ series in Britan. Good on Charlie Hunnam (the actor), for taking a role so dramatically different than his last. I don’t know for sure at this point, but it looks like he’s playing a raging hetero, which would be a far cry from the raging homo he played in QaF.

Rockstar

So I went to go see Rockstar tonight. I for the most part enjoyed it. I was, however, rather horrified to realise how many words I knew to all the songs on the soundtrack – I AM a child of the 80’s apparently. Is this movie taken from the story of Judas Priest? Wasn’t their lead singer kicked out because he was gay and replaced by the lead singer of a Judas Priest cover – sorry, tribute – band?

I am clearly a ‘sensitive, 21st century boy’, however, as the wild sex and drugs and homophobia and disrespect (and disregard) for women made me incredibly uncomfortable to watch.

I found it hilarious that of course Chris (Mark Whalberg’s character) ends up in Seattle in a proto-grunge band, and gets the full-on grunge look going on at the end of the movie. I guess the moral of the story is that wearing ratty sweaters and flannel while playing your own music is better than all the sex and drugs and fame of being in a hair band.

Markymark is, as always, decent in his role. I don’t think anyone does the surprised/confused look as well as he does, except for maybe Keanu Reeves. Mr. Whalberg, however, seems to be able to portray a couple other emotions as well. Note to Jennifer Aniston: stay out of the tanning salon for a while!

Umm…that’s nice and shallow now, eh?