It being the holidays and all I’ve seen a fair few movies recently: in 3D at the movies, in regular old 2D at the movies, on TV and from a DVD. It’s been an interesting mix.
There may be spoilers below.
Hairspray was on TV on New Year’s Eve. Somehow I’d never seen it before.
It was fun, and I enjoyed the singing and dancing. The storyline, though minimal, was also a good one, touching on racial discrimination.
This was good, light, entertainment for a late evening.
Morris: A Life With Bells On
With a handful of others in a Hamilton movie theatre we saw Morris: A Life With Bells On.
This turned out to be an enjoyable and fun movie. A mockumentary, about the manly sport of Morris Dancing, it treated its subject with warmth and dignity.
It had some really great touches, such as the ‘foreign exchange’ Morris Dancer from the North (of England), and the Morris dancing men of Orange County (USA).
My one complaint is that we never did really get to see any Morris Dancing.
Our friend in Auckland had the DVD of District 9 so we watched on her TV.
I’d heard lots of comments about how fabulous the movie was, so I had very high expectations.
What I didn’t realise was that it’s a splatter movie. There seemed to be endless chase scenes involving lots of bloody explosions and shootings and so on.
The fundamental idea was good, and the social commentary is fine, but I just didn’t enjoy this one.
Many decades ago I read in the original German Franz Kafka’s Die Verwandlung — The Metamorphosis. I remember very little of the book, but it leapt into my mind while watching District 9, and stuck there as an annoyance.
In District 9:
While raiding the shack of the alien that was helping Christopher, Wikus discovers and removes the container, accidentally spraying some of the liquid onto his face; also, his left forearm is injured by one of the aliens. Consequently Wikus feels sick and sees his fingernails loosen; that night he falls ill and is taken to a hospital, where his left forearm is revealed to have mutated into an alien appendage.
Gregor Samsa awakes one morning to find himself inexplicably transformed from a human into a gigantic insect.
We saw Sherlock Holmes at a big movie theatre in Auckland. Although set in the 1800s it wasn’t at all what I expected, being a kind of cross between CSI and Adrian Monk, with a definite air of Greg House.
The music was good, and the plot worked fine, but I did get a bit bored half way through.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Again, friends spoke well of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. We saw it at The Penthouse in Wellington, a smaller theatre. It’s a murder mystery, with a particularly interesting character: Lisbeth Salander.
Thanks to the subtitles I knew what was being said in this Swedish movie, but was interested that I could pick up bits and pieces of the spoken dialogue, thanks to my knowledge of German.
I have no idea how a man might react to this movie, but women be warned: there are several fairly explicit scenes of rape or torture. They are integral to the plot, rather than gratuitous, but they are very hard going.
The character of Lisbeth, is to say the least, troubled, and as the movie progresses we start to find out why. She’s an interesting character though, and it’s refreshing to see a young woman portrayed as strong and self-sufficient.
The original Swedish title is Män som hatar kvinnor which translates as Men Who Hate Women. That tells us much more about the movie than the English title.
The movie was dark and powerful. It was thought-provoking, and it was oh-so-refreshing to see an actual ‘foreign’ movie, with the differences that arise from another culture.
And, you know something? An important piece of evidence in the story was an old photo, with a blurry image of a key suspect — and they couldn’t enhance it beyond belief to show us clearly who was in the image. Hooray! They had to do some old-fashioned leg work instead.
Meat and froth
All up I guess I’d say that if you want a ‘meaty’ movie see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. For some fun and froth watch Hairspray or Morris: A Life With Bells On.
Avatar provides 3D whizz, and a very imaginative alien world.
Watch Sherlock Holmes to fill in some time on a boring day, and give District 9 a try if you fancy chases and splatter.