shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass

8.14.2005

viewings

Movies recommended (2):

Aventurera, finally seen after being netflixed ages ago off Daniel Handler's sterling recommendation in Slate's 2004 culture wrap-up:

This year, the greatest film in the entire world was released on DVD. The film, Alberto Gout's Aventurera, was made in Mexico in 1950. It is the greatest film in the world. If I could, I would force you to see it. Once I saw it with my friend Matt, who was jet-lagged and fell asleep halfway through so I jabbed him in the ribs, hard, to wake him up. Once I saw two showings of the film on the same day—right in a row. I saw the film, bid my friend goodbye, lingered outside the theater, met another friend and pretended I had just arrived, went inside, and saw it again. Once I bought a VHS copy online from a very iffy-looking Web site, but it turned out there were no subtitles. I don't speak Spanish but my brother-in-law and his wife do, so I sent it to them. They have never acknowledged receiving the film, which I can only interpret as awe.

What is the film about? Ninon Sevilla, in a fervent, twitchy performance, plays Elena, a young girl who endures sexual temptation, the breakup of her family, a suicide, and dance lessons in the first 10 minutes of the film. Following that, Gout thoughtfully provides a brief flashback encompassing all the events of the past 10 minutes. Murder and champagne follow. White slavery is involved and unrequited love. Also, table tennis. Ms. Sevilla has apparently been costumed with a vengeance—i.e., by someone with a fervent desire to get revenge on her. Do you know that feeling, way past admiration and quite a bit past campy admiration, when you realize that you literally can't believe what you are seeing? Also, it is a musical.
Fantastic movie, full of treachery, knives and dancing. See it.

Murderball, also fantastic and full of excellent music, and with a surprising amount of treachery (though no knives or white slavery). Especially recommended for sports fans.

Movie Extremely Unrecommended (1):

Collateral; quell obvious, you say, noting the presence of Tom Cruise. And yet, unless he wrote and directed this movie, I can't even blame him for the total fucking disintegration of logic that propels the last thirty minutes or so. Give me a break. (Though I will say that I was unimpressed with his supposedly steely-good performance.) Additional note to filmmaker people: Stop reminding me of the oh-so-poetic irony of some final scene that has been directly telegraphed early on in the movie. I and every other fucking person who may watch have seen at least 5o,000 movies. We grew up in movietown. If someone just came out from a cave and this is their very first movie ever, fuck them. Let them be bewildered. Thank you. (Why, Jamie Fox and Michael Mann? Why?)

Also, I have a cold, might be cranky as a result, and spent the day finally watching the box set of Wonderfalls. Loved it lots.

I'm really looking forward to The Brothers Grimm, even if Matt Damon didn't get a prosthetic nose.

Good night.

4 Comments:

  • At 12:43 AM , Anonymous ed said...

    I actually thought "Collateral" was a rare case of Hollywood providing some very real human interaction (the great early scene between Jamie Foxx and Jana Pickett Smith, the moment where Jamie Foxx has to pretend to be Cruise) in an otherwise over-the-top Hollywood movie. Of course, if such a film had been made in, say, 1975, it's likely that it wouldn't have been nearly as well-regarded.

     
  • At 8:23 AM , Blogger gwenda said...

    I'll give you the Pinkett scene, and even the pretending-to-be-baddie scene, but around the time Max trusses up the cop and starts off on foot to stop Tom Cruise, things went so wrong it just became comic. The last bit of the movie is an insult to the first half.

     
  • At 10:57 AM , Blogger Christopher said...

    The Pinkett scene is okay, but even there I was thinking, "Oh, you're the last person on Cruise's list."

    I think the tipping point into ridiculous banality is just before the scene Gwenda mentions, back in the Asians only nightclub (as opposed to the Hispanics only nightclub). That's the point where the filmmakers seem to have decided that they were making a stupid movie for an imagined stupid blockbuster audience after all, despite the pretty good (not great) performance they'd been getting out of Foxx earlier.

     
  • At 4:09 PM , Blogger Rob said...

    I thought that Collateral worked right up to the crash and then ended like every crappy action movie. Loved the lens work. Pretty nighttime LA.

     

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