Movies

Dec. 29th, 2008 12:41 am
osmie: (Default)
This evening we clustered around the TV to watch Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk.

Iron Man wasn't a great movie, but I enjoyed it very much as a superhero film. The romantic dialogue was often clumsy, but it hearkened back to Bogart & Bacall in a way that very few action movies remember to imagine; and I very much appreciated the way it resisted its own romance. Plotwise it held no surprises -- the villains, macguffins and narrative turns were all duly telegraphed -- but it resisted the action filmic genre in several important ways, including the aforementioned resistance to romance, but also extending to the lack of a car chase, a consistency and complexity of characterization (except among said villains), and a high intelligence among virtually all of the characters. Not until the final action sequence did anybody do anything truly, stupidly out of character for the sake of the plot.1

When I say The Incredible Hulk also wasn't a great movie, I'm using litotes. Edward Norton did a phenomenal job of keeping his character believable despite a downright lousy script, but nobody else came close. William Hurt stuck out his moustache a lot. Liv Tyler spoke rafts of perfectly generic, dumbed-down dialogue, and it remained unclear how her character could ever have earned a Ph.D., short of family connections and sexual favours. And then there was the fighting. And the chasing. And then some fighting. And then a bit of hiding, and chasing! And fighting. And some more chasing. There was some chasing too, and fighting. And a bit of hiding. There was also some chasing and fighting, with hiding and chasing. And fighting. Plus a fight, a chase, some hiding, a chase, and a fight, with fighting. And some fighting. Several times I got bored enough to leave the room, wash my hands, swig some water, grab a snack, and when I got back the fighting and chasing and hiding hadn't progressed by the smallest nuance of plot, or a single word of characterization. So there may have been a bit more fighting than that. And some chasing. With a bit of hiding. Every once in a while the movie threatened to become interesting, but then there was another chase to sit through. One character -- and one only -- had anything intelligent to say throughout the whole film, but he said it in a bizarre hyperactive Marvel-mad-scientist sort of way which would have worked beautifully if he were interacting with other people as smart as he was, as though to counter the notion that all brilliant scientists are sane, but instead fell completely flat, and underscored the notion instead that all smart people are incomprehensible jerks. Yegods it was tedious.

Meanwhile, I was struck this evening by the notion that I really want to see a contemporary remake of Modern Times starring Stephen Colbert.


1Pepper ought to have kicked off her high heels the first time she was chased out of the building, and should certainly have lost them entirely before the third.

Movies

Dec. 29th, 2008 12:41 am
osmie: (Default)
This evening we clustered around the TV to watch Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk.

Iron Man wasn't a great movie, but I enjoyed it very much as a superhero film. The romantic dialogue was often clumsy, but it hearkened back to Bogart & Bacall in a way that very few action movies remember to imagine; and I very much appreciated the way it resisted its own romance. Plotwise it held no surprises -- the villains, macguffins and narrative turns were all duly telegraphed -- but it resisted the action filmic genre in several important ways, including the aforementioned resistance to romance, but also extending to the lack of a car chase, a consistency and complexity of characterization (except among said villains), and a high intelligence among virtually all of the characters. Not until the final action sequence did anybody do anything truly, stupidly out of character for the sake of the plot.1

When I say The Incredible Hulk also wasn't a great movie, I'm using litotes. Edward Norton did a phenomenal job of keeping his character believable despite a downright lousy script, but nobody else came close. William Hurt stuck out his moustache a lot. Liv Tyler spoke rafts of perfectly generic, dumbed-down dialogue, and it remained unclear how her character could ever have earned a Ph.D., short of family connections and sexual favours. And then there was the fighting. And the chasing. And then some fighting. And then a bit of hiding, and chasing! And fighting. And some more chasing. There was some chasing too, and fighting. And a bit of hiding. There was also some chasing and fighting, with hiding and chasing. And fighting. Plus a fight, a chase, some hiding, a chase, and a fight, with fighting. And some fighting. Several times I got bored enough to leave the room, wash my hands, swig some water, grab a snack, and when I got back the fighting and chasing and hiding hadn't progressed by the smallest nuance of plot, or a single word of characterization. So there may have been a bit more fighting than that. And some chasing. With a bit of hiding. Every once in a while the movie threatened to become interesting, but then there was another chase to sit through. One character -- and one only -- had anything intelligent to say throughout the whole film, but he said it in a bizarre hyperactive Marvel-mad-scientist sort of way which would have worked beautifully if he were interacting with other people as smart as he was, as though to counter the notion that all brilliant scientists are sane, but instead fell completely flat, and underscored the notion instead that all smart people are incomprehensible jerks. Yegods it was tedious.

Meanwhile, I was struck this evening by the notion that I really want to see a contemporary remake of Modern Times starring Stephen Colbert.


1Pepper ought to have kicked off her high heels the first time she was chased out of the building, and should certainly have lost them entirely before the third.

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