Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Movie Reviews in Briefs

This past weekend was an interesting one for movies.

Friday night I popped in a classic (albeit one I had never seen)--Mommie Dearest. Although both Roger Ebert and Janet Maslin both panned it upon release (1.5 and 2 stars, respectively), I enjoyed this movie immensely. It is a stylish, right-on-the-money, well-acted depiction of what life would be like living with an eccentric and borderline-insane iconic Hollywood actress--Joan Crawford. Faye Dunaway is frightening and perfect as the star herself.

Literary pairing: David Niven's second autobiography, Bring on the Empty Horses.

Saturday night, I braved The Bridge cinemas at the Howard Hughes Center, which would probably cause Mr. Hughes to roll over in his grave--if it wasn't built right on top of his rotting corpse (kidding--as we all know, he was buried in Texas, next to his parents). A friend of mine warned me this would be an 'urban' experience, which I found hilariously inappropriate and ultimately inaccurate--it was more of a 'wallet-rape' experience, as tickets set me and all other non-Urbansback $15.50 each, which would've gone down easier had the movie been better.

Although Star Trek started strong, it eventually fell victim to the 'wish I was Star Wars' sci-fi curse and wound up chock full of so many bad jokes (ie, a Russian guy pronouncing V like W about 25 times, which elicited rollicking laughter from the fat, dumb man next to me), groanworthy Eric 'Having Tattooes On My Face Constitutes Acting' Bana moments, and even more groanworthy Leonard Nimoy soliloquies about wormhole time travel, the value of moral support, and the impressive benefits prunes bestow upon his regularity on the space toilet.

For nerds only:
My favorite astrophysical innaccuracy: every time a black hole forms (and, yes, this happens more than once in the movie) the crew of the Enterprise comments on the fact that everything will immediately be swallowed up--without mentioning themselves. Then they chill out for a while, watch the black hole swell, make a few phone calls, and blast away. Once they had to drop a bomb to achieve escape velocity off the blast wave, but come on! Never being at risk of getting sucked into a black hole renders the entire concept harmless and its presence in the movie nearly pointless!

Sunday I popped Victor/Victoria into the ole DVD player (10 years-old and still kicking! --dedicated blog entry to follow...). I became a fan of Blake Edwards' S.O.B. back in December and decided to give this one a try.
The opening...twenty minutes?...of this movie are just a race to get to the meat of the matter--Julie Andrews is going to pretend to be a transvestite. I understand they are in a hurry to get there, but that doesn't excuse the writers/director from also making that screen time entertaining, funny, and sensible.
As much as I love Robert Preston in S.O.B, I don't find him as funny or charming in this one. That is partly due to worse writing in this one and partly due to a lack of chemistry between him and Julie Andrews. As a gay man, what exactly does he see in her? Their friendly/business relationship is simply too convenient.
Similarly, I found the chemistry missing between Julie Andres and her love interest, James Garner. He is struck by her beauty, she thinks he is that really it? They hardly even get to know each other before they are irretrievably in love. Why?
Also, although I commend Blake Edwards for not inserting yet another jaw-dropping Asian stereotype for comic relief, I must in the same breath condemn him for his frequent and appallingly unfunny attempts at slapstick in this movie (and others).
I wanted to like Victor/Victoria a lot--and it still has some redeeming parts, like the fabulous song and dance numbers--but ultimately found it disappointing. It came off like a bad play aimed at theater-types, even though it was a movie based on a book (and only later turned into a Broadway musical).

Well, there ya have it, folks. Another weekend at the movies in my underwear. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did, in your underwear.


1 comment:

Cornelius said...

Where's the entire post dedicated to David Niven already?