Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly (*not necessarily in that order)

One of the best things about a great story is that it can appeal to anyone (even Hermits!). So, it is not suprising that my "no-one-will-ever-love-me-because-I-am-destined-to-die-old-alone-and-surrounded-by-cats" retreat from the world as I try to understand how someone could just disappear after four years and a lot of talk about the future has been filled not only with kleenex and unfullfilled hopes, but movies. Sometimes a good story about someone else's life is the best diversion from one's own. That's where the movies come in. Books too, but today is about movies.

The Bad

As movies go, there were some real klunkers in the 1st Annual Lonely Hearts Film Festival. Take for example the Bollywood meets Jane Austen film I rented in hopes of inducing forced mirth. It seemed like a good idea. Who wouldn't be cheered up by a lighthearted romp with bright costumes and cheesy dance numbers??? Me! That's who! Unfortunately, the characters were NOT mirth inducing or even light hearted, just annoying. There's just no call for that. The name of the film escapes me (I'm probably repressing it), but its memory makes me want to pummel the director with a piece of stale naan (and my fists...actually mostly my fists) until he begs forgiveness for having squandered two hours that I will never get back.

The Ugly

Undaunted by my Bollywood experience, I moved on to the BBC production of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. It was a bold move, since I'd heard less than positive things about it. Still, I loved the book. With such a great story, how bad could the screen version be? As it turns out, pretty bad. In fairness, it's not that everything about it sucked. The show is a little dated looking (understandable given it's age), but the acting was ok. It's just that the production values were so poor. Maybe things turn around in disc 2, but disc 1 looked like a cable access program directed and designed in a joint high school drama and AV club production. Poor Neverwhere. You could have been so much better. I just know it. Maybe one day after everyone has graduated, they'll try again. If they do, call me, I bear no grudges. I may be ruined for love, but I will give you a second chance, Neverwhere!

The Good (Saving the Best for Last)

On the more welcome other end of the spectrum there have been some movies that actually managed to divert my obsessive mind for a couple of hours. They ranged from poignant, but perhaps not as great as I'd expected (Brokeback Mountain, you have become a victim of your own hype) to spooky to funny to just plain entertaining. While there are many things one could delve into in the realm of writing, acting, cinematography, score, etc., when all is said and done, the thing that makes a movie great for me is that the sum of all these elements is that they've created a world into which I can escape for a few short hours. With that in mind, (unless I become distracted by something shiny) my next few posts will highlight some of the star features in my summer film fest (which could also be termed Martina's Movie Recommendations).


Jen said...

I also hated Bride and Prejudice! There were so many things that could have gone right that sadly... DID NOT!!! I have blocked most of the specific problems I had with it from my mind, but I do recall thinking "I'll never get that time back," and I'm someone who has enjoyed Dude Where's My Car on MULTIPLE OCCASIONS! I seem to remember that while the girl in the elizabeth bennet role was pretty, she really wasn't much of an actress. (and also love love love Jane A., but with an openminded does not have to be literal appreciation for the movie adaptations. for example Clueless (remake of Emma) -- BRILLIANT!). So, to sum up: bride and prejudice = ptui!

Martina said...

Ptui is a fair rating! I am so glad it was not just me. Actually, I KNOW it was not just me.I would have thought it was just me, but Citizen R didn't like it either. She actually fell asleep and proclaimed the movie "pointless". Now that you don't like it either, it truly is ptui-worthy!

I'm also with you on the Jane element. I'm fine with using an old source as inspiration for something new (so many books and movies do that, and that's fine!). It's just that this wasn't particularly well done.