Tuesday, June 12, 2007

At a Theater Near Your

Sometimes I go to On Demand and just watch trailers for forthcoming movies. There's a lot of crap in our future. Two trailers sparked the following questions:

Why have they done a remake of Hairspray? And did they have to give the role of Edna Turnblad to John Travolta? He looks like a fat Cher.

When they turned the wonderful French film Bella Martha into No Reservations, why did they cast Catherine Zeta-Jones as the super uptight, unbalanced control freak chef? Yeah, right. And isn't the title just so cute? The delightful little girl who initiates her journey into normal human life is--can you guess?--Abigail Breslin.

This brings me to some other questions sparked by recently viewed movies. What happened to The Prestige? It was a very enjoyable book, kind of creepy. The movie took bits and pieces of the book and crammed them into another storyline altogether, which was really annoying. Dear Husband, who hasn't read the book and so did not come at it from my perspective, thought it was worse than I did.

Why did I so much prefer The Illusionist, which in retrospect has more holes than Swiss cheese? I would watch it again. The illusions are real illusions, not special effects. That is just so cool. Even the orange tree, which people think can't possibly be an actual magic trick, was perfected by some magician in the 1800s. Some people complain that they guessed the "twist" in the first five minutes. They should keep company with my dad, who used to pepper our movie watching with such observations as, "That's not real blood," "If that had been a real gunfight, someone would be dead by now," "It's all just pretend, you know." I thought The Illusionist was so much more on target than The Prestige about the allure of magic and the willing suspension of disbelief. In The Prestige, Michael Caine's character says that you don't really want to know the secret, you want to be fooled. But that isn't quite true. You want to be fooled AND you want to know the trick. And so in The Illusionist, Paul Giammati's character laughs in delight when he at last pieces together all the parts of the puzzle. No doubt we could go on to discuss cinema as the ultimate illusion blah blah blah.

But onward, if you haven't seen L'Auberge Espagnole, I highly recommend it. A young Frenchman goes to Spain on an exchange program to study economics and ends up sharing an apartment with students from all over. It reminded me of my college days--dilapidated furniture, ashtrays overflowing, everyone staying up to all hours talking or dancing. It's also very very funny. There's a scene near the end, in which all the friends race desperately back to the apartment to prevent one of their crew from being found in a compromising position by her boyfriend. Her brother improvises a solution that is hilarious and unexpected.


  1. Wow, you are a connoisseur of cinema. Yet another facet of you.


  2. NWC: Yes, I have many facets, but the are rather poorly cut.