Thursday, 10 July 2003

Movie Roundup, 2003

The film Dolls, is made up from three interwoven tales of love and loss in modern Japan, framed by a traditional puppet story on the same theme. The main story ( of a salaryman who breaks with his fiancée to marry the boss' daughter, then leaves the wedding when he hears that on being abandoned, she had attempted suicide, and the two of them ending up wandering around Japan tied together) fails to have the clean resolution of the other episodes (an otaku almost stalks an idoru who has retired after beign disfigured in an accident, and of an aging yakuza oyabun who on getting bad news after a medical check-up, goes to find the woman he abandoned when he took to crime), and spends rather too long on admittedly gorgeous scenery shots. I was surprised to see that the wedding was to have been held in church — I suppose that is, like Kirimasu, another quaint foreign custom that the Japanese have taken to heart.

Matrix:Reloaded is another film that will have been seen by most people who would want to by now. Pity it was only the first half of a five hour movie :-( - there really wasn't a resolution, just a cliff-hanger. The FX were kewl, though. Interestingly, apart from the councillor and Neo, the real-world Zion characters were women, non-white, or both - the white males (Agents and Architect) were Matrix constructs. I agree with Howard Tayler's assessment in an open letter on his Schlock Mercenary site that it could have lost the bump'n'grind/Zion Party digression, near the beginning. Placed where it was, it didn't even have the utility of the smoochy bit in Armageddon which at about half way through the film, came at a good time for taking a leak without missing anything important.

X2 - about as perfect a realization of what have been for most of the last 35 years my favourite super-team as one could hope to see. Good performances all round, and fans will know what has to come in X3.

Russian Ark is a 96 minute single take as a viewpoint character wanders through the St. Petersburg Hermitage Museum, and through the last couple of centuries of Russian history. Visually sumptuous, though it probably packs more punch if you have a decent grouding in the history being covered.

Caught Divine Intervention at the local independent cinema. This is the Palestinian film that did well at film festivals in '02. Strange, quirky, bleak, with a very black sense of humour, from the opening scene where Santa is being hunted down by youths outside Nazareth, to the final one where a mother and son sit in a Ramallah kitchen watching a pressure cooker and she says “It's been long enough. It's time to stop it, now.” via a number of vaguely interwoven slices of life and vignettes. Everything in the film could be read as a metaphor for the desperate situation there, while simultaneously showing that even so, the people can still laugh at human folly.

See 2002 section for Avalon and Revenger's Tragedy.

Also continued at the Film Festival.

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