Friday, May 20, 2011

At Least Its Better than "At World's End"

So I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides at midnight last night with my sister and a bunch of other high school kids. It was honestly one of the tamest midnight showings I've gone to. Not all the seats in the theater were full and there were hardly any people in costumes (myself included). There seemed to just be a general lack of excitement, buzz, whatever you want to call it. With all the reviews I read, I admit, I too was not as excited as I had been in the past. 
However, the film exceeded my (very low) expectations. While it was no where near the perfection of the first one which is one of my favorite films it was much better than the third film which left me confused and sad at how far the mighty had fallen. Like everyone has said, this plot was much easier to follow, although I found it slightly predictable which was a first for one of the Pirates films.
Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz had great chemistry and by far made up for the dismal replacements for Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly. What were their purposes in the movie? If those random "lovers" were cut out of the film it would have saved so much time. The thing I like about Bloom and his character was his banter with Johnny and the way in which they worked so well together getting into and out of shenanigans. This missionary guy (who's name I can't even remember) served no purpose and was not even slightly attractive. I also missed Keira because at least she was feisty, fun, and served a purpose. That random mermaid girl, not so much. I was just not a fan of the whole mermaid idea in general.
Overall, I thought the film was fun, which is what it was supposed to be. It was not the most fun or funny film, but it was not the snore fest I thought it would be. Sure some of Jack's escape plans were far-fetched and insane and way over the top (especially the one involving the coconut trees) but they ended eventually and got back to the good stuff. And while I've heard many complain about the fight sequences, I didn't have a major problem with any of them. At least they were shorter than the whirlpool scene from the third film which I fell asleep during and when I woke up it was still going.
The thing is, once the movie was over, it was over. I didn't sit and brood over the ending or discuss my favorite parts (I honestly can't think of one even now). My mom asked me how it was and I said "good" because I really didn't know what else to say. It was good. Not bad, not great. It was there and then it was over. But while it was there, I will say that I did enjoy myself. It was fluffy fun. Sometimes you just need a film like that, this summer is going to be filled with fluff. Which I have no problem with. I may be a film snob but I love a good blockbuster now and then (Pirates was not it).
Eddie Izzard makes my point very well. Sometimes, I just want a film I can eat popcorn to. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hey, It's New to Me!

"Enjoy the infinite abyss."-Andrew Largeman

So I just watched Garden State (2004) and I was all like "I'm not going to write about it, since everyone's already seen it" but I don't care, it's new to me and I loved it. I loved it because it was real. Not much happened and yet so much did and that's life. It's deep, it's funny, it makes you cry- like life itself. 
I want to rave on and on about the acting, the sets, the script, but I'll refrain. I will say, I love (always have and always will) Natalie Portman. Her song Sam reminds me a bit of me. Not the whole lying-epilepsy thing but how she speaks. She babbles, she mentions how awkward she is, talks fast, and laughs a lot-pretty much me in a nutshell. I just love how Portman plays such a variety of characters. Zach Braff was really good too. I want to see more with him so I can develop more of a concrete opinion on him because I'm still unsure how I feel.
Oh and obviously the soundtrack was amazing. One of the best I have ever heard. Before watching the film the songs were already among the most listened to on my i-tunes, but now I can attach scenes to songs which is always cool.
I'm glad I gave this film a second chance because when my sister was watching it last year I walked in half way through and thought it was weird and walked out. Oh what a difference a year makes...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lessons Learned

So avant-garde cinema is over and I can't say I'm sorry to see it go. However, I do feel conflicted about that class because part of me absolutely hated it. I feel like I did not learn anything and that it was a waste of time. But at the same time, I feel like it was a good experience to have. I would have never watched any of those films on my own. It did open me up to some new styles of film-making. And I didn't hate all of the films. Some I genuinely liked, like the Maya Deren and Shana Moulton films. Part of me wished I paid more attention sometimes because people in class would mention things they thought about the films that I had completely missed because I zoned out or feel asleep. So maybe I didn't learn anything because of the limits of my own mind. I did try very hard to keep an open mind. It didn't always work. To me, cinema has form, conventions, narrative, all things that avant-garde films lack. I couldn't get past that sometimes. I guess its the same as modern art; not everyone likes or even understands modern art (I sure don't) but at least they look at it and try to figure out what it is that they do or do not like about it. That is what I did with this class. It really made me appreciate cinema more and recognize the things I really like about it, the reason I love films. I love them because of the stories they tell, the worlds they transport me to. And while avant-garde cinema brought me to some very strange worlds, it was just not the same.
At least the semester is over. Now I get to make my own films next semester. That should be fun...