Reviews from a temporary shut-in

Posted by on Monday, January 23rd, 2006

Been watching lots of movies lately, me, and reading far too little.  Here’s a pile of opinions: help yourself.

Man of Aran.  This is one of those films you’re just supposed to watch if you have any attachment to Ireland.  It’s no barn-burner, but it is historically significant and pretty interesting to my kind of geek.  Filmed in the early 1930s, Man of Aran is a quasi-documentary about a poor young family living through privation on Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands.   It was made by Richard Flaherty, the same director as Nanook of the North.  He was obsessed with the whole man v. nature trope.  And, well, the family he filmed wasn’t actually a family, but they were locals who did know a thing or two about poverty and hard labor.  This is the first film of Flaherty’s to use any sound other than music, which is apparent but also charming.  For the fiber lovers, there are some cute, albeit brief, shots of sheep and lambs and some snippets of knitting.  The DVD has some great special features, including a documentary about the making of the film and its lasting affects on the people of Aran.  Oh, and I don’t think Jaws would ever have been made were it not for this film, though only the shark dies in Man of Aran. 

Layer Cake.  I’m a sucker for Matthew Vaughn’s brit-gangster films.  Just love ’em.  This time, he turned from producer into director, and I think it was a great idea.  This is definitely the best of the bunch.  I will admit to missing some of the harrum-scarrum pacing and the thickness of the accents, but this film takes us to the educated side of dope dealing and crime.  Daniel Clarke gives a great performance as a yuppie coke dealer XXXX, who is trapped in a deal-gone-bad and the insanity that follows it.  Colm Meaney, as usual, plays a great hard-ass.  George Harris plays a chilling enforcer, and exactly the kind of guy you’d want working for you if you were, well, a yuppie coke dealer.  Which I hope you’re not.  And Sienna Miller plays the smoking hottie, because gangsters need purty girls to hang out with, I guess (Jude Law, dude, you are a dumbass).   In this film, the twists and tricks and plots of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch are refined a bit, and the cleverness of the writing has a chance to shine more brightly.  While still fast-paced, this film just isn’t as hectic as its older siblings.  Loved it.

Young Adam.  Holy hell, I hated this mess of a movie.  When I found it on Netflix, I thought it was a sure thing, what with Ewan McGregor and Tilda Swinton in the same cast.  Nuh-nuh-nuh-nooo.  I hope it’s the director’s fault.  The film opens with McGregor and his boss pulling a dead woman out of a river and onto their barge.  Over the course of the film, we learn that McGregor’s character knows more than he should about her death, and he begins a relationship with Swinton, his boss’s wife.  Fine and good.  The pacing was plodding–that I can accept.  But McGregor’s character comes off by turns as a freaking sociopath and a would-be likable character.  But the actor seems so confused by his character’s actions that he can’t commit to either monster or failed man.  Throughout, McGregor’s character never seems to have a motive or soul or any reason to act as he does.  Scott and I were baffled throughout the movie.  My impression is that this director, David Mackenzie, is just a hateful misogynist–I don’t know what else to think.  I don’t normally get that impression from films, but it really seems like he hates each and every woman in the film.  I haven’t seen any of Mackenzie’s other work, but this hasn’t sent me searching for his next big project.  He may just have unseated Connery as my long-standing Scottish Guy I Hate, which I thought was impossible. 

The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, by Judith Viorst.  Yes.  I am this pitiful.  My cat is dying, so I am comfort myself by reading and re-reading the book my Mom got me when our first cat died.  Boy, would a therapist have fun with that.  But I love this book because it did comfort me when I was a little kid, and because I find solace knowing that when Scath does die, he will indeed be buried under a tree in our yard and he will feed my garden.  Except maybe I’m now convinced that Scath won’t die, and maybe he’s faking the cancer.  Ok, time to read the book again.

Filed in Books,Film | 3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Reviews from a temporary shut-in”

  1. Junoon 23 Jan 2006 at 10:34 pm 1

    Connery? Because of hateful misogyny? Or something else?
    I was watching Goldfinger the other day – I used to love the Bond films – and I had to turn it off. The character is little better than a rapist. It was an upsetting realization.

  2. laneaon 24 Jan 2006 at 9:04 am 2

    Yep: “I don’t think there is anything particularly wrong in hitting a woman, though I don’t recommend you do it the same way that you hit a man.” Those are his words from a 1965 Playboy interview, and he essentially repeated them to Barbara Walters a few years later. And also the fact that he has exactly one character in his repertoire, and yet people still seem to think he can act. Nope–he can act only like himself. So he is the longstanding Scottish-Guy-I-Hate. Though that may change. I also have an official Welsh guy I hate, a couple of American Guys I hate, and somewhere there must be a Canadian Guy I hate, though I don’t think I’ve found him yet.

  3. Rebeccaon 07 Feb 2006 at 6:57 pm 3

    If you like the brit-gangster movies, you´ll love Old Men in New Cars. Rent it!! 🙂

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