Sunday, June 18, 2006

Movie Round Up

Good day, and welcome to The Corner, eh. It's time for some more of Marius' Movie Reviews!(you'll have to imagine the echo effect in your head)

Last night we went out and saw The DaVinci Code. Now, just in case he's a secret fan of The Corner let me just say that I deeply respect and appreciate Ron Howard as a director. He has a wonderful, light touch that usually makes for magnificent cinema. So I'm having some trouble figuring out just what was wrong with The DaVinci Code. I loved the book, and was really looking forward to the movie. Some that I have spoken with thought Tom Hanks was not right to play Robert Langdon, but I thought he did a great job. So did Audrey Tautou as Sophie, although she seemed very rushed. And, of course, Sir Ian McKellen could sit on a rock and read the phone book and I'd be spellbound, so his performance as Sir Leigh Teabing was nothing short of marvelous. In fact no one in the cast dropped the ball, although Paul Bettany, who played the albino assassin Silas, did spend more than his fair share of screen time naked again.(see: A Knight's Tale) Overall, though, the film, like the leading lady, felt rushed. It almost seemed like Howard was so intent on getting as much of the book into the movie as possible he had to lose any real character development. I know that the book is a roller coaster from the moment Langdon gets a fateful phone call in his hotel room in Paris(not how the movie begins, btw) but the book has the ability to get into the characters' heads and make us care about them. Not so the film. It's more like a Saturday morning cartoon, albeit with lots more masochism and pale ass-flesh. We never really get to know any of the people on screen well enough to give a damn if they make it or not. And there are a couple of unbearably long expository scenes that feel more like college lectures than gripping cinema. But mostly it's Hanks looking puzzled; Tatou looking lovely and vulnerable; McKellen looking amused, and Bettany looking sinister, and all of them running around, yelling, shooting, and explaining for nearly two and a half hours. If you liked the book, rent the movie in a few months. If you didn't read the book, I would imagine this film will leave you feeling confused and unsatisfied.

On the rental front, we have seen a couple of good ones this month. First there was Mrs. Henderson Presents. This is a sweet film, although not really for the young ones, is set in London during WWII, and is about a recently widowed socialite(Dame Judy Dench)who finds herself in need of a hobby now that her husband is no more. On a whim she buys a theatre and stages around the clock musical reviews. She hires Vivian Van Damm(Bob Hoskins)to manage the theatre, and they have a marvelous love/hate relationship. At first they are a smash hit, until every other theatre copies their round-the-clock format and they begin to go bankrupt. Henderson then suggests that the girls should be nude, much to the chagrin of everyone, but eventually gets her way...although not in a fashion that anyone would have imagined. It is definitely worth a gander, and the nudity, while frequent and unashamed, is in no way titillating. I know that sounds strange, but artistic and tasteful is more the proper term. This is definitely a 'snuggle up on the couch with some wine and your honey' kind of rental that is based on a true story.

Lastly we watched MirrorMask, which is a very bizarre 'Labyrinth meets Narnia' kinda kids movie written in part by Niel Gaimon. If you are familiar with Gaimon's work, you will love this movie. It combines live action with CGI in a way that Tim Burton wishes he was still doing. A young girl, Helena(Stephanie Leonidas) who is the daughter of circus parents, wants to run away to join the real world. She and her mum(Gina McKee) have a tiff, shortly after which mum has an 'episode' and is rushed to the hospital for brain surgery. While waiting for word of the operation, Helena is drawn into a strange world based on her drawings that cover the walls of her bedroom, and in which the Dark Queen(also Gina McKee) is searching for her daughter, who looks just like Helena, and seems to be destroying the world of light. Helena must find the MirrorMask to make everything right again, and the quest begins. Imagine The Neverending Story if it had been made by the people who did Being John Malkovich. I think it ranks up there with such films as Brazil, Being John Malkovich, and Labyrinth in weirdness yet watchability. Definitely a worthy rental.

Ok, Happy Fathers Day to any of you reading this. See y'all soon.



Anonymous said...

Not to bash your opinion of Mirror Mask but I was forced to watch it with the redhead awhile back and found it to be a bad acid trip. Mind you I hate surrealism anyway so I'm not saying alot. I have enough trouble with the real world as it unfortunely is ;)

Ld T

Marius said...

No worries, mate. If that sort of film is not your cup of tea it must have been hell for you. You have my sympathies.

pikaresque said...

Well if MirrorMask is anything like Labyrinth then I look forward
to any character ...Oh, say who is a knight riding a dog!
Sir Didimus, I always reminded me of some one....


ps LOVED Mrs. Henderson Presents and felt pretty much the same about The DaVinci Code

Anonymous said...

Just bought the book "The Da Vinci Code, " but saw the novie a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it. I'd like to see it again though. ..there's so much in it one (I) gets the feeling I might have missed something!

Also enjoyed "National Treasure" in spite of Nic Cage. Guess I just like these "treasure hunting" movies!

Marius said...

We rented National Treasure a few months ago, I went to bed before it ended. And the DaVinci Code is a great book, that probably should not have been made into a movie.

pikaresque said...

Happy Father of a fetus Day to you!