Monday, February 06, 2006

Movie stuff

Trebor and I caught Capote last night. It wasn't bad -- it felt a hell of a lot longer than its 1:38 running time, but the cast was excellent and it had some truly great moments. Not sure if I'm down with a Best Picture nomination, but it was certainly better than the year's other critical darling, A History of Violence.

And it might just do the impossible: make Phillip Seymour Hoffman a movie star. Stranger things have happened. (Though not often.)

The Da Vinci Code looks fucking awful. Now, this may come as a shock, 'cause you know I like to stay on the cutting edge of pop culture, but I still haven't read the book. I read another Dan Brown novel, Angels & Demons, though. It was an entertaining enough diversion, but it didn't seem exactly stuffed with actual substance. It was like a Lifesaver -- sweet, easy to eat, quickly ingested, but there's a big hole in the middle. I think once I actually sat down and read it I finished it in a few hours. Brown's action sequences are pretty effective, and he knows how to string together some cinematic set pieces...but the last twenty pages were pretty retarded.

But this trailer is painfully bad. Tom Hanks looks like a mutant. And ninety percent of the thing is just closeups of him looking in awe at something off-camera. Maybe he's staring at Ron Howard's own rapidly disintegrating hairline.

The movie doesn't come out for a few months, which means I'm going to have to watch the same damn teaser over and over again until release. And most offensive, to me anyway, is that the trailer doesn't even say anything -- I still have no idea what the damn thing's about. Something about Jesus, and pissing the Catholics off. And I wouldn't even know that from the trailer. But, according to Trebor, it gives away the plot's "big twist"...but that I would've had to read the book to spot it. Which isn't really a spoiler, then.

The point I'm trying to make here, Opie, is that your trailer -- much like most of your filmography -- sucks. You can't just pile up spooky images with no context like you're M. Night Shyamalan and make me excited.

Speaking of M. Night Shyamalan: Lady in the Water. Yyyyyyeah. I can't say I'm wild about this trailer, either. I know I'll see it, because it's Shyamalan, and I have an unhealthy love for his films. (I even adored The Village, remember?) But the whole "bedtime story" thing ain't doing it for me.

And what's with the name Cleveland Heep?

Anyway. One last thing. Before the movie started, there was a commercial for the Oympics. It was this weird short movie, about these three idiotic man-children who go to Italy for the Winter Games. Two of them show up barechested, one painted with the letter U, the other with A. They look around in vain for S for a few seconds...and then they spot him. He's wearing this red-white-and-blue afro wig, and he has his entire body pained blue. He runs up to them like a spaz, grabs them by the shoulders, and soon they're all jumping up and down screaming "USA! USA! USA!"

I leaned over to Trebor and said, "This is what we look like to the rest of the world, isn't?" Gleefully stomping around a foreign country, bleating our greatness to everyone around us, the thin line between patriotism and jingoism obscured and slathered over with grease paint.

It gets worse. After something happens, S decides to celebrate by prancing across a frozen lake. But the ice gives way, and the poor jackass falls in and freezes solid. Thinking they'll look stupid without their S (riiiight), U and A drag him around to other events and prop him up between them. A few girls think the frozen guy's "cute," so U and A continue to haul him everywhere, strapping him to the roof of their SUV, to impress these women.

There's a metaphor in there. The center of the USA -- the core, if you will -- cynically used to gain favor, by people who obviously don't care about the USA at least, outside of how it concerns them directly.

Yeah, okay, so it's not as delicious with meaning and irony as when a woman is prevented by police from hearing a speech promoting political freedom around the world because she was wearing a protest t-shirt, but I'm trying. The commercial certainly didn't make me want to watch the Olympics.

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