Saturday, 14 August 2010

Silver Screen Surfer

I don't often have a lot of luck getting out to see movies when they're playing at the cinema.

Either I'll agree to see them with someone and we can never go on the same day or I lose track of time and by the time I get around to it the local cinema has stopped playing the film in question.

This isn't always exclusively down to my poor organisational skills or vague grip on temporal reality, the local cinema can be a bit of a moody bugger when it comes to screening runs.
The Karate Kid (aka The Kung-Fu Kid) has been screening for over a month but Predators ran for a maximum of two weeks before they gave it the boot.

So when a swag of movies I was interested in all came around at once I decided that I was damned if I was being cheated again and I went - to put it quite bluntly - completely nuts*.



Synopsis: Scott Pilgrim is a 20-something slacker who finds himself having to battle 7 evil exes in order to be able to date the girl of his dreams. Scott Pilgrim is accompanied in this quest by a selection of amusing and sometimes unsympathetic friends in a world that blends regular reality and computer game tropes in a way that messes your brain up fun times.

Ricochet's Bonus Blather: I was already going out with friends for a farewell dinner (for one of them) so when they said 'Hey you wanna go see Scott Pilgrim after?' I cursed them out for being the dirty temptresses they are and immediately said yes. This clashed with my Nerdy Senses which were tingling and saying things like 'But you haven't read Volume 6 yet, you fiend!' but I shouted them down, assuming correctly that I would be able to hold the movie separate in my mind from the graphic novels.
I loved the film for it's timing, the use of effects to simulate comic panels and for Kieran Culkin as Wallace Wells - the whole thing was very well cast.
Of course there is no way you can make a feature length film from six graphic novels without having to cut out and compress a lot of the story telling, so if you haven't read the graphic novels you might come away a wee bit confused.
I had avoided reading Scott Pilgrim for ages as the whole premise of a man having to fight a girl's ex-boyfriends in order to date her seemed so... misogynist but on the urgings of a Canadian friend I gave them a go and found it hard to see them as such when reading them. I still think Ramona should have just told them all to go to hell and given them a good frying-panning to the face but the exchanges and actions were so entertaining and the 'computer game reality' so removed from regular life you couldn't take it entirely seriously on that level.



Synopsis: In a near future which has developed the technology to access people's dreams as a means of removing information, a skilled practitioner of this art is given a chance of redemption if he can achieve what is thought impossible - to place an idea within the mind of another.

Ricochet's Bonus Blather: I had decided to see Inception today but hadn't gotten around to it by the time I went out to dinner with my parents, so I decided that not only was I still going to see it, I was going to carjack my parents and take them with me. And I did.
It was astoundingly good.
And honestly if it had just been 2+ hours of Cillian Murphy looking vulnerable and Joseph Gordon-Levitt being tipped off chairs I would have been perfectly happy but it also had a plot!
The depiction of the movement of time and the mouldable reality and how it reacted were very engaging and it didn't hurt that pretty much all the dudes in it were fairly easy on the eyes.
For all the people who were complaining that they found it hard to follow or confusing I'm going to assume you spent the whole movie picking your nose and molding the resultant finds into a miniature statue of the Venus of Willendorf because my mother - who usually has to be reminded who people are part way through murder mysteries - followed it easily**.



Synopsis: A disgraced journalist and an antisocial hacker are brought together as the investigation of the 40 year old disappearance of a young girl leads to evidence of crimes more wide-reaching and recent than anyone suspected.

Ricochet's Bonus Blather: The books have divided some people as they couldn't get past the 'Fellowship of the Rings' style character infodump at the start of the first book but I found that those sections helped me get a better idea of the society/culture they take place in and it gave me a context in which to see everything else.
The movie was a fantastic realisation of the book and managed to fit most of the important scenes and themes in without having to alter too much of the story, apart from tweaks to the time-line and some reduction in the roles of some characters.
Having read the books I was able to brace myself for the more confronting scenes but think they would have been equally if not more effective if I hadn't known they were coming.
One of the things I liked best about this screening was that apart from me, the audience was almost exclusively ladies in their 60s (and over) in home-knitted cardies, nodding in appreciation any time Lisbeth smacked anyone or tattooed anything on anyone. As we were walking out I heard one lady remark to her friend "I would have been tattooing it a damn sight lower, I can tell you that!"



Synopsis: A bunch of mercenaries suddenly get a conscience about one of the messed up countries they're asked to do a job in and go completely banza crazy setting shit right yo!

Ricochet's Bonus Blather: I'm sorry, I couldn't write a 'serious' synopsis for this one. Mostly because it doesn't really have one. It was enjoyable as a collection of quips and cliches from people we're used to seeing quip cliches at us but it was so over the top that it was a send-up of its own genre which I assume was the aim. Well, I hope it was.
The banter between the characters was so exaggeratedly familiar it seemed like a polyamorous commune of old married men.
One thing I did like was the fact that the characters spent a bit of time reflecting on how that sort of lifestyle can really mess you up, that you can't just brush it off and that maybe some of their number should get some counselling.
I took along my friend Awesome with whom I watch all the most explodingest movies and we did enjoy it as a complete break from reality with extra violence sauce but I couldn't help but think that part of the reason for that is we've been conditioned to enjoy these sorts of tales.
Of course it is quite possible I am just feeling super pretentious after having seen three very good movies in quick succession just before this one***.


And somehow, despite the fact I spent almost the entire weekend sitting on my ass, at the end of it all I came away with a sense of productivity****!


* That is 'nuts for a person who usually seems a maximum of 3 movies a year at the cinema'.

** Of course, it probably helps that at the cinemas you can't wonder off to put a load of washing on or make a cup of tea and come back after something very important has happened but really all you had to do was watch the screen.

*** But honestly, it is in no way a clever movie. Amusing but no surprises.

**** I guess it did count towards my New Year's Resolution to watch at least 52 new movies this year...

No comments: