Thursday, July 21, 2011

Harry Potter and other entertainments

Of course, saw the final Harry Potter movie, and it was nice to see the end.

Cathartic? No. The book was. Well, a couple of the iconic scenes were awesome to finally see, especially the final shot. It was a couple hours of fun and simple closure for someone who'd read the wondrous series.

Reports from fellow parents whose kids grew up with Potter are different, though. (Even those who read it first.) They report their kids talking back to the screen, physically reacting to some parts. It's very much a catharsis for them.

Cathartic for me lately was the Cohen brothers' update of True Grit. An impromptu movie party formed a couple weeks ago and someone had this from the Redbox. I was not enthused but it was on my to-watch list, so I settled in with a good brew and expected the tepid.

In my opinion, the Cohen brothers can be very hit-and-miss (Barton Fink anyone?), but when they're on, they're damned on. My wife really coined it, the script was Shakespearean in its scope and grandeur. As with Shakespeare, I laughed harder and much more often than I expected to, and in the end was unexpectedly moved. I'm reading the novel now to perform a mental diff (like most have with Harry Potter and LOTR). Stay tuned.

In my Ryan Reynolds movie fest, I've completed Chaos Theory. Thus far my theory is holding up, that Reynolds is one of those guys who is canny at picking good scripts. The movie was merely entertaining, but, as with The Nines, the premise was intriguing.

In most movies where things could be cleared up by allowing a character finish speaking (ala: "If you would just listen..!" "No! Be quiet! Not another word!"*), it feels like a cheat of too much of the plot hinges on the unrevealed information, but here it's actually part of the plot device, and the interruptions that stop the revelation are realistic. This is one of those movies that would have been a bit better with a defter director. Reynolds continues to impress me as an actor for all seasons. If you've got some time and get it from the library, this is a nice little flick. Stay tuned for the continuation of the Reynolds-fest.

*The Harry Potter movie has one of these, even. Thankfully, the character is allowed to speak, but just barely.

Recent articles about the new documentary Project Nim (which I can't freakin' wait to see) have all mentioned director James Marsh's Man on a Wire about French acrobat's Philippe Petit's walking on a high-wire between the Twin Towers during the 70s, so I fired that sucker up. It was eerie watching footage of the building of the towers because you see the iconic girder-esque outer shell being constructed, which evokes mental images of the same poking from the rubble on that fateful day.

While interesting, it wasn't as gripping as Errol Morris' docs are. Documentary fans will definitely want to see it, though.

Aside from the audacious task of stringing a wire between the two towers, the most jaw-dropping segment for me was Petit's reaction to his sudden international fame after he pulls the the feat off. It's not a spoiler that he makes it, because you see him as he looks now at the start of the show ("so he must've made it!"), but THIS IS A SPOILER:

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Immediately after he is released from jail in New York, a random hottie from walks up to him and invites him back to her place for a celebratory fuck, which he jumps on. It's shocking because thus far we've seen much of the very tender relationship with Annie - his long-suffering, soul-mate girlfriend, who was there to watch the event, and was instrumental in pointing out to people on the street what was occurring a quarter of a mile up. He would not have been able to pull it off without her love and support. So his betrayal is shocking. Petit, in the current day, casually dismisses his transgression. Annie herself says that she, too, immediately realized that the event and his fame had changed everything, and says it was somewhat of a relief for her, too, that things were over, and what better way to mark a life change. Still, the heart has a way of repainting tragic events over with time using any hopeful colors it can find, but objective observers can still see the layers of hurt beneath.

Finally, my family tried to slog through the update of Arthur, the re-tread of the Dudley Moore classic. Meh. Not only is it crashingly boring, somehow, but the uber-wealth that Arthur takes for granted chafes in the current day. (The best line is in the preview: the lovely Jennifer Garner, while trying to chase Arthur down to hump him, becomes adhered to Arthur's floating magnetic bed due to metallic inserts in her sexy-time costume, and Arthur bends down to offer: "At least something in this room is attracted to you." Snirk snirk.)

Verdict: Potter fans should rejoice, and then sit down to a viewing of True Grit if they haven't already. Documentary fans should hit the high-wire while waiting for Nim.


Whisky Prajer said...

My vote for "Most Haunting & Memorable Movie of the Decade" goes to Man On A Wire. The sheer craziness of it, the staggering number of things that could and did go wrong, and yet and yet ... this little man, completely at ease in the clouds.

The business you mention is indeed striking. Although I don't think I was quite as shocked by it. He felt entitled, the way rock stars do. It did seem like a natural, if personally disappointing, response.

yahmdallah said...

yeah, the fact that he could kick back and lie down on the wire, and taunt the police was something.