Monday, August 26, 2013

A weekend at the movies...sort of.

So, the weekend has come and gone.  Any cinematic ventures you care to discuss?  Personally I saw three films and none of them were what I expected.

Friday, I finally saw ‘Amour’.  I know, it’s about damn time!  I’m a longstanding fan of Michael Haneke.  I consider him one of the finest directors of his or any generation, and I was blind rooting for him all season to win the Directing Oscar.  For me, as accessible and widely praised as ‘Amour’ was, I can’t help but feel it was lesser Haneke.  The themes (that of dying, loss, separation, disillusionment, depression) all come together strongly, especially in the performances he was able to draw from the two leads, and yet there is a detachment (something common in Haneke’s films) that pulls me out of this film.  It feels incomplete; like it wasn’t fully thought through.

It’s an admirable choice for the Foreign Film Oscar, and I’m so glad that Haneke finally has a win in that category, but for what it is worth, 2012 had a slew of better contenders (‘Rust + Bone’, ‘Declaration of War’, ‘Oslo August 31st’; just to name a few).

But the bulk of my weekend was taken up by two hot messes from 1967.  Delightful in their own ways and yet ridiculous all the way around, these two movies starred some of my favorite actors of their generations serving up some calculated hysterics in lavishly put together misguided ventures.

Where to begin?

First up was the widely criticized ‘Camelot’.  I love how certain musicals play different all over the world.  I hear that this particular film was swallowed up by European critics, while being somewhat eaten alive by American critics.  Personally, this was such a tacky disaster that I couldn’t help but adore it for some reason.  The themes and source material seemed so contradictory to the tone of the film.  The musical numbers were done with this dreamy, saccharine quality that was gushy and dripping wet with melodramatic sentiment.  It didn’t help that Vanessa Redgrave is so awkwardly uncomfortable and half the male actors here camp it up for full effect.  This needed a more dramatic and dark approach, like a ‘Sweeny Todd’, but instead this felt like a spoof more than a serious minded telling of the story.

Still, it was gorgeous to look at.

The same praise can be heaped upon ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, a film that was bizarre in so many ways and yet was undoubtedly beautiful to watch.

I’ll cover this like so:

5 Things I Thought of While Watching ‘The Taming of the Shrew’:

  • Elizabeth Taylor looks like an alcoholic Snow White.

  • It’s a shame that Elizabeth Taylor couldn’t have children, because she and Burton were like the most beautiful definitions of sex to ever walk the planet.  She was ALL WOMAN and he was SUCH A MAN!

  • What ever happened to Julia Stiles?  It really is a shame that she her star never truly took off.  She was aces in the 1999 modern remake, ’10 Things I Hate About You’.  UGH, she was so fucking talented!
I wanted you to be a STAR!!!
  • I don’t believe any man in this film, outside of Richard Burton, actually wants to touch a woman.  Seriously, what is it about Shakespeare that brings out the gay in everybody?
I fucking doubt it...
  • This movie is fucking bizarre!  Like, I thought Katherina was a bitch, not a loony!  Taylor is seething at the mouth and tearing this movie to pieces, but MY GOD does she come across like a psycho.  If I were Petruchio I’d have her committed.

What a weekend…now it’s time to get on with the week!


  1. I still haven't gotten around to seeing Amour yet. I don't know if I can subject myself to a film that depressing. It reminded me so much of Away From Her, and I never want to see that film again.

    I loved Julia Styles in the late 90's/early 2000's. I have Save The Last Dance on DVD, which is slightly embarrassing.

    1. GURL, Save the Last Dance is a cinematic treasure! LOL, shamelessly love that movie.

      And Amour is way worse than Away From Her in the depressing department, but not as good of a movie surprisingly.

  2. Amour is a film that I really loved as I thought it was something different that Haneke but also very engrossing for the relationship between Trintignant and Riva which made the film for me.

    I think the reason Julia Stiles never really made it big isn't that she made some bad choices but it's just that she's sort of limited as an actress and sometimes comes across as bitchy.

    1. I really did like Amour, I just wish that I loved it.

  3. Fun post, man! Ahah, Liz Taylor DOES look like an alcoholic Snow White in that picture, I've actually never seen any film w/ her and Burton.

    Oh man, I like Julia Stiles too, it's a bummer her career never took off. She's so freakishly talented, I like her even in her small role in the Bourne movies. At some point Gerry Butler was saying she was interested in playing his love interest in a Rabbie Burns' biopic. I was so thrilled when I heard that as Butler would've been perfect as the Scottish poet.

    – ruth

    1. I'd take her in a Butler movie if it means she gets a high profile role! She needs a comeback. It's hilarious that she hasn't aged a day in 13 years. Like, I saw a preview for her 'Closed Circuit' movie and she looks the same as she did in 'Save the Last Dance'.

      With cinema's age bias, I'm surprised they aren't utilizing her everlasting youth!

  4. I am so glad i enjoyed Christian and Ana's story .
    Fifty Shades Movie

  5. Amour feels complete to me, but I can see where you're coming from.

    Haha. Before I did my 1967 ballot, I actually watched the first 5 minutes or so of Camelot, and decided to wait until some other time. :)

    I liked The Taming of the Shrew more than I thought I would. Burton was actually close to making my Best Actor lineup.

    1. Burton is on my list, but he is the ONLY actor from that film on my list. I did notice something about Burton that made me smile...he was like the pre-Crowe. Everyone used to liken Crowe to Brando, but in watching more Burton films I really think that Crowe is more of a Burton-like actor, and I love that (since I think I prefer Burton to Brando in the end). He has a much more naturalized and emotionally even control of character. Just his boyish laugh at the thought of wedding Katherine was hilarious and reminded me so much of Crowe.

    2. I agree. Burton is the actor I've associated Crowe with the most. Yeah, he was so enjoyable in that role.