back contents next April 8, 2000

a zed & two naughts

EileeneI've been in a movie-watching mood recently. Yesterday, Christine and I went to watch High Fidelity. I wasn't sure if I wanted to see the film or not, having only read previews (positive ones, mind you, but there wasn't anything about the previews that grabbed me) until I read this and Christine requested that we watch it (on a very positive recommendation from a friend of hers). Christine's friend has good taste in films and since I haven't heard anything negative about the film, I figure that it must have redeeming qualities that I would enjoy despite the non-grabbing reviews.

High FidelityHigh Fidelity is a deliciously funny film.

I especially loved Rob Gordon's (John Cusack) sidekicks that man the store with him (played by a wonderfully(!) annoying Jack Black and painfully shy Todd Louiso) . I like quirky characters in films. Perhaps I connect with them ("I myself am strange and unusual"). The movie's website is wonderful and features a number of yummy goodies for the post-movie watcher surfer.

When I came home from the movie, I couldn't stop talking about it.

"And then there was this one bit..."

Mike interrupts me. "Hold on. Hold on. Are you giving away all the jokes? Do you want me to see the movie?"

"Augh! But I want to talk about how great the film was!"

"Do you want to see me not laughing during the film?"

"Uhh.. no...."

"Then don't tell me anymore." He smiles.



The Road to El DoradoThis afternoon, Mike and I decided that we were to watch The Road to El Dorado. Mike laughed heartily at the trailer that I brought home a few weeks ago and decided that "this was a movie that he wanted to see". We went to the matinee showing and invited my parents along, too. I was surprised to learn how short the film was (something on the order of 85 minutes) and worried that it would turn out to be another Inspector Gadget.

Thankfully, it wasn't. The film is a bit weak in some spots -- a musical number with Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branaugh was practically indecipherable because the music was so loud and obscured their voices, Rosie Perez as the female love-interest with her heavy New Yawk accent seemed extremely inappropriate, and there are points which might be a bit too intense for the much younger viewers. Mike did note disliking one point where the violence was turned down and I agree that it seemed out of place. If a creature is supposed to be threatening, then getting caught by it should have really bad consequences. However, the character was "still okay" and it seemed very "well, what's the point then?".

Otherwise, the comedy is really great and worth the price of admission (matinee price). I'd recommend it.

Oh, and the ending just screams "sequel", which I didn't care for, but what other kind of ending would be appropriate? There's a part of me that wanted the bad guy to be excecuted on screen, but I noted that this was not Fire and Ice.


a zed and two naughtsThis evening, I decided to rent a zed & two naughts (a fiendish title, isn't it? I love it. I think it would make a great title for a journal or project), a recently-released-on-video Peter Greenway film that he made in the mid 80s. So far, I've only seen The Pillow Book and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, Her Lover, but I'm attracted to his strong visual style and sense. I've passed up Prospero's Books a few times, an act I have vowed not to do again. The next time I spot it, I'll rent it (it was not available on the Foreign Films section of the video store today, alas).

The film has a very unusual plot, dealing with decay and death -- two subjects the twin zoologist brothers become obsessed with when their wives suddenly die in a freak accident. The surviving driver (Alba) loses a leg and the two brothers get to know her intimately. Visually, the scenes involving the twins and Alba are wonderful, symmetry with Alba sticking out like a sore thumb in her asymmetry.

In the end, it's a study of mortality. Of others and our own. Some scenes were disturbing (they brothers film various things rotting: an apple, a bowl of shrimp, a pair of fish, a crocodile, a dog, a swan, a zebra), typical of Greenway's other films. The substories are interesting (I love the names of Alba's children Alpha, Beta, and Gamma... and how she aborted Alpha so her eldest daughter is Beta) and although there are lingering shots, the pace of the film isn't as slow as his later works. It's a good film to introduce others to Peter Greenway's style and I think I'm going to recommend it in future as an introduction piece.

If people can find it, that is.


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