July 21, 2006

The Syriana snooze

I'm still waiting for the John Wayne-John Ford Film Collection. In the meantime, I watched Syriana tonight. I wasn't too impressed.

The movie has received a number of very good reviews. One of them, on DVD Town, prompted me to comment and I offer that comment below:
This is one of those movies I feel garners praise less for its merits as a film than for its subject matter. It's certainy a story that should be told but geez ... it's really boring. Especially, as you mention, that first hour.

But you also articulate why this is a dull movie: "To some viewers, "Syriana" may seem to have too many characters, none of whom we get to know very well. But I don't think the characters are supposed to matter much in the film."

That's exactly why it's dull. The main character in the film is oil. What kind of emotional connection do you make with that?

I don't have problems with ensemble pieces - some of my favourite movies are of this type. But the absence of a character focus really makes watching this film feel like sitting through a dull lecture.

As admirable as the intentions were, the execution left a great deal to be desired, for me.

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July 15, 2006

Waiting on John Wayne and John Ford

Except for a couple of films from th 1980's (Terms of Endearment and Trading Places), I haven't been watching older films recently. I certainly haven't been watching movies from the 30s, 40s and 50s, even though I love old movies.

The reason is simple. Even though I have some pretty good ones lined up to be watched (and rewatched, like In a Lonely Place, which I want to see again), I can't do it because I'm anxious. I am anticipating. I'm waiting for my shipment of the John Wayne-John Ford Film Collection.

I think the set has something like ten discs, including the movies I'm especially keen on: The Searchers Ultimate Edition (two disc set) and Stagecoach Two-Disc Special Edition.

Also included in this collection:

- The Long Voyage Home
- Fort Apache
- She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
- They Were Expendable
- The Wings of Eagles
- 3 Godfathers
- A Turning of the Earth: John Ford, John Wayne and the Searchers
(documentary on the making of The Searchers)

So. You can see why I'm distracted and anxious. I really want this. And it hasn't even shipped yet!

Oh well. Soon, soon.

July 5, 2006

Yes, I liked The Matador

First, in a world where most movie comedies lack the essential element (humour!), The Matador is a wonderful movie. Dry and stupid, slapstick and witty. Compare to Failure to Launch or The Break-Up and weep. Note to directors: after script, casting is everything.

That I could watch and enjoy a film under these intemperate conditions (33C degrees!!!) speaks volumes.

More seriously, few comedy/romantic comedies these days are able to finesse the balance between humour and serious elements (meaning independent movies are drearily earnest while Hollywood comedies assume audience stupidity and penile fixations).

Why are there so few movies like The Matador?