Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Movies: A beauty and a beast.

Somehow, I've managed to get away without either reading or watching the Da Vinci Code (shhh!) but I have seen a horrible dud that I feel it is my duty to warn you about. Namely, Match Point, which was just released on DVD. Yeah, it is a Woody Allen movie, but it's become increasingly clear that this doesn't mean it's good. I'll usually cut him a lot of slack. I even liked Melinda and Melinda, which everyone else seemed to hate. This one, however, is a real dog.

The dialogue is so stilted that it could have been translated into English from Albanian by a Japanese graduate student. It doesn't help that the two chemistryless leads, Scarlett Johanssen and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, couldn't act their way out of a paper bag (though they both have nice, pillowy lips.) The storyline is a tale of forbidden love between two outsiders among the (yawn) English upper classes, with a feeble connection to tennis. It's one of those movies that starts out lighthearted and easygoing and then makes a completely unwelcome 90 degree turn into bleak drama-thriller territory, kind of like Something Wild. It's a complete unmitigated disaster, and I have to wonder why the reviews were so positive.

Go see Brick instead. It's a noirish murder mystery set in the echoing corridors of a California high school, featuring a nerdy antihero, some menacing teenage drug dealers and hypnotically alluring young females in berets. The weird hepcat lingo grates after a while, but it has a kind of dreamlike appeal. It was shot on a shoestring by young filmmaker Rian Johnston, who got all his friends and family to put up the money, and you really get the feeling of one person's fully-imagined vision coming to life... in that it reminds me a lot of Donnie Darko, which it is certainly every bit as weird as.

And speaking of which, Richard Kelly's second film, Southland Tales, has been roundly slated at Cannes. The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw - who I defintely don't always agree with - described it as "the festival's real clunker." Awwww. Now I really want to see it.


Stuart Ian Burns said...

But the dialogue in Match Point is supposed to be as stylised as Brick ... other excuses ...

Actually (and I'll admit it here) I rewatched Match Point when the dvd came through and although it contains many good scenes and Scarlett Johansson it was not as good as I thought. Which underlines my theory that many films of the past were considered classics because people only had the chance to see them once.

Video & DVD -- saviour of some films, ruination of others.

Kate Feld said...

Yup. But some films seem even better the second time, which makes up for all of those disappointments.