Holiday Filmfest

Decided to completely blow a day yesterday, and not work on anything. No writing, no housework, no nothin’. I slept ’till noon, and then Laura, Allie and I went to the multi-cine-google-plex and saw three movies, back-to-back-to-back. It was like our own little film festival, and we had a blast.

We started the day with a showing of The Ring. I had heard many good things about the original Japanese film that it was based on (Ringu), and I had also heard that the American version did a pretty good job of capturing the feel of the original, so I was keen to see it….besides, it has Naomi Watts, who was great in Mulholland Drive.

The official GMS verdict: Creepy as Hell. The imagery in the film was David Lynch-nightmare-WRONG; the direction of the entire film was oppressive and claustrophobic, racheting up the tension in the theatre even in an afternoon matinee; and the plot features a nice twist at the end which saves the film from being just yet another interpretation of an old-chestnut ghost story. Solid work. Solid enough, in fact, that Laura and I were speaking about how we’d kinda feel uncomfortable having a home-video version of the film, once it comes out. Just a little too much life-imitates-art in that format….

Next up was Allie’s film choice, 8 Mile. Yeah, I know, but she made the honor roll this week, and I told her she earned a reward, and this is what she asked for….plus, I had heard some pretty good critical reviews from sources that I respect, so we gave it a shot.

The official GMS verdict: Surprisingly engaging. I’m not a big fan of Mr. Mather’s public persona, but I recognize it as a canny bit of shit-stirring controversy made to generate sales. This film gives another glimpse at the man behind the artificiality of both “Slim Shady” and “Eminem”, and I can honestly say that I’d like to see more. There is no denying that Mathers is talented as hell– I’ve always admired his clever rhythmical delivery, and his turns of phrase are often inventive, too. I just wish that he’d grow the hell up and use that talent for more than yelling “DOO-DOO! BUM! BOOBIES!” Once his handlers decide that he can make it without the controversy, Mathers has the potential to become something truly great, and I think this film is a look in that direction.

We finished off the day with an evening showing of the latest 007 flick, Die Another Day. It’s a James Bond movie. I’m me. There was pretty much ZERO chance for me not being at this movie during opening weekend. It’s just one of the laws of the universe.

The official GMS verdict: It’s a Bond movie. I’m not buying into the critical reviews which are proclaiming it as the best Bond film in 20 years or more. It’s just not *that* good. I’m not even sure that I’d give it the title of the best Brosnan Bond film (I really, really like Tomorrow Never Dies), but it’s certainly better than The Man With The Golden Gun, Diamonds Are Forever or License to Kill. There are some problems: notably the feeling that the beginning half of the film–dark and fairly gritty for a Bond film–was directed by a different director than the one responsible for the last half of the film–which ventures into almost Austin-Powers-ish, comic-book-y camp (for example, a “dogfight” between gadget-loaded spy-cars). But, in the end, it’s a Bond movie. Brosnan is cool, the villain (especially the henchman…one of the best things about this film, in fact) is great, Halle Berry manages to not be annoying, and the Madonna title track even grows on you after a while. I still think that Bond needs to be re-booted…re-interpreted for a new century, but for now this will do just fine.

So, I’ve got my fill of the first batch of my holiday viewing. Now, I’m just waiting for The Two Towers, although I’ll probably grab a viewing of Star Trek: Nemesis in the weekend before it opens. Then, it’s repeated viewings of Tolkieny Goodness all throughout the holiday season.

Yes, I’m a geek. Shut up.


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