I don’t review every movie I see. I’m not saying I stick my nose up at various creative efforts–it’s just that some movies don’t give me a thousand words worth of material to work with. Some movies I can only see with ad breaks inserted (not seeing a movie) or in an aspect ratio that it wasn’t meant to be seen in (not seeing the movie in my eyes, I can’t speak for everyone). The last five movies I’ve seen (and thus the next five I have to enter into my movie journal) are Gnomeo and Juliet, Birth, The Wicker Man, Rango, and Mean Girls. So let’s talk about the three I haven’t reviewed a bit and call that a day, shall we? I say yes, and I run this place, so tough on you if you didn’t want to.
Remember that movie that came out a long time ago (well, not that long, but long enough) wherein Nicole Kidman got into a bath, naked, with a ten year old boy? I remember there being a huge fuss about it when I was younger, and wishing that I were Cameron Bright, the young actor, in that situation. I mean, surely, what young boy does not want to be in the bath naked with Nicole Kidman? Male newscasters sorta laughed about how envious they were of the kid, female newscasters shouted loudly about Kidman being a pervert, but a funny thing happened after that movie’s release. It was almost entirely forgotten, to re-emerge on The Movie Network some years later. If I’d been me now then, I would have asked why the movie was almost entirely forgotten by everyone. I mean, controversy means greatness, right?
Well, when I saw it, I realized something very sad. That boy had one of the least erotic experiences of his life and was likely pruned out. And for what? Birth is the kind of movie where you can see that the director has been studying two men obsessively: Stanley Kubrick and Woody Allen. The cinematography is clinical, intense and precise. But where Kubrick found the engaging and the disturbing within his immaculate conceptions, this movie doesn’t even find the titillating. Like Woody Allen, Birth finds the interesting parts of New York high life. All of the important characters are either rich or the reincarnated spirits of rich people (or are they). The hint of the supernatural in this drama gives it a mystique it may or may not deserve by the ending. Birth is not a badly made movie, but it is a badly done version of this story. Cold, distanced and clinical where it should be intimate. The perfect demonstration of this is the shot of Nicole Kidman’s face as she realizes something very important. It lasts longer than both scenes that feature anyone in the bath. TWO AND A HALF STARS
REVIEW: The Wicker Man
There must be a few of you among my readers realizing something right now: I don’t put years after movies with similar or identical titles. I don’t bother because, in my mind, remakes are just movies with the same title. If you can’t gather that I’m talking about the Jaden Smith/Jackie Chan Karate Kid as opposed to the Ralph Macchio/Pat Morita original, then something’s wrong with your reading. I recently saw The Wicker Man, starring Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee and Britt Ekland and was indeed pleasantly surprised at how good it was. For a movie billed “the Citizen Kane of horror movies”, it assured me of one thing: someone doesn’t know what Citizen Kane was to film. Citizen Kane was the kind of movie to change the very way we watch movies, the way we make movies. Wicker Man is simply very, very good. If there were a Birth of a Nation, Citizen Kane and Matrix of horror movies, they’d probably be Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Saw.
No, The Wicker Man is still the story of a police officer lured to an island away from home and safety and taken for a very intense ride by the peculiar locals. But where the new version failed (spectacularly), this one succeeds. There’s a palpable air of tension from the word go, whether it be physical, emotional or sexual. Edward Woodward is great as Sergeant Howie, bringing a humanity and likability to the stuffy and unfun British police officer. Britt Ekland made me envy the thousands of young men who got to grow up with posters of her as opposed to Kesha or Katy Perry. Actually, guys today probably have posters of Megan Fox, and that just saddens me further. Nevertheless, good movie, creepy as all get out and even more creepy for the musical numbers. Yes, it’s a bit of a musical. … Cos those appear in every horror movie ever these days… THREE AND A HALF STARS
REVIEW: Mean Girls
Yes, I saw Gnomeo and Juliet before I saw Mean Girls, but I don’t see that as a bad thing. Honestly, I was a bit of a prick in my youth, but even today I find myself almost entirely uninterested in a teen girl movie. The only thing that drew me to this movie was when someone revealed that not only does Cady (Lindsay Lohan) find herself oddly drawn to Regina (Rachel McAdams), but eventually finds herself replacing her. Sorry if I spoiled the twist for anyone even later than I am to the “it was written by Tina freakin’ Fey” realization. It indeed was written by Tina Fey and has a lot more in common with 30 Rock or her stint on Saturday Night Live than it does with What a Girl Wants or Sydney White. In that, it’s actually kind of universally funny as opposed to fake funny.
But with a movie with this quirky sense of humour and this mainstream promotion and subject matter, the inevitable happened. Yes, this movie has been entirely quoted to death for me. Was I able to enjoy it? Not in its original aspect ratio, and not without my girlfriend telling me that she loved this part. And also not without hearing hundreds of thousands of people in my head talking about how “fetch” wasn’t going to “happen”. Except, because you trendsetters quoted it to each other around me for what’s surely going on seven or eight years now, fetch did happen. It happened a while ago. And if I felt I could give a score to this movie (THREE STARS), I’d say it’s happened all over again.