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Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Week At The Cinema

We saw Big Eyes.

I thought that I would be fatally bored, but instead I found a film that got my initial attention, then never let loose. The pace of this film was wonderful.
I mean, not once did my interest flag, not once did I feel a need for a piece of black licorice, not once did I dis-connect and look around the darkened hall.

It was impressive.

Then I saw Foxcatcher.

The pace was entirely different, rather glacial.
Of course, the story was very different and the film tried to reach deeper areas of the psyche, and my mind wandered quite a bit.
As I think back, however, I realize that this film was deep enough that I actually should have a second viewing to be able to analyze it better.

There were important things being said. There was the distinction between the government supported Soviet system of Olympic sports ( the year was 1986 or so) and the rugged individual USA approach... except the whole thrust of what was to be done was to obliterate the old amateur Olympic ideal in the USA and replace it with support by the Rich.
At which point, the distinction between the Soviets and the Americans is sort of quantumly schmeared like cream cheese on a bagel of indifference.

I also found brief interest in the depiction of an old American flag in a glass cabinet mounted on the wall behind John Eleuther DuPont's desk, which image caused me to think that the Rich have a different perception of the flag and patriotism.
For the Rich, Patriotism is yet another asset class.
These little ways that the plot was developed were great. It is a good film.

Then we saw Into The Woods.

Broadway musicals are sources of enchantment on the stage. Most do not survive their transgendering into films.
I liked everyone. Meryll Streep as the witch was the stuff of nightmares, and Anna Kendrick as Cinderella was the stuff of dreams. Everyone was superb.

But the film was tedious. Sondheim's approach to dialogue works on stage, but does not work in films. I think it s due to the physical immediacy of the actors on the stage which sweeps us along into the enchantment. The 2 dimensions of the big screen require something else.

I recall being repelled by Anne Hathaway's enormous Fantine in Les Miz, which filled the screen like the giantess from Into The Woods.
Not appealing.

On the bright side, the Cockney urchin singer was very intelligible, which was definitely not the case in Les Miz, when at the funeral of General Jean Maximilien Lamarque, the requisite Cockney urchin leaps onto the back of a tumbrel and launches  (along with the cast)  into what in my experience was the longest unintelligible song in the English language.
I think I could have understood more had he sung in Setswana.


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