May 12th, 2009

movie popcorn

More Movie Reviews

Compare and contrast.

Last Thursday night I caught Star Trek in a packed, huge theater with vernnyc, naylandblake, and Greg/mondragon. I’ve never been much of a fan of the series/franchise, so I actually had not planned to see it – at least on opening weekend! – but my movie buddy uncle_dan_nyc was eager to see it and picked up a bunch of tickets, and I always enjoy hanging with him, so I said yes.

Then Dan had to cancel from his own early screening, and I thought about cancelling, too, only by then the early reviews starting coming out, and they were all raves, so I ended up keeping my ticket. I enjoyed the film a lot. It’s well-written, beautifully shot, well scored (perhaps a little overscored in the last third, with the ethereal-choir-on-meth let loose), and nicely directed, acted, and FX’d. There are temporal logic holes you could drive a starship through, but those will just keep the fanboys returning to see the movie again and arguing about it for years to come.

But do we get to see Eric Bana strip down to his jockey shorts?! No-o-o-o-o-o-o!!!

My main quibble would be its use and depiction of women, who in the movie were either saints (Spock’s mother) or whores (Uhura, and the obligatory green alien chick for Kirk to hump). Sure, they made Uhura very, very, very smart, but she’s still a whore, running around in a miniskirt and go-go boots. And she has the least screen time of anyone in the ensemble. Seems like 1966 all over again!

My favorite "you fanboys will believe anything" moment was when Scottie gets beamed into what looks like a water processing plant, which just happens, of course, to be made up of a maze of clear glass pipes. Hey J.J., Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory called and wants its visual joke back when you're done with it!

But here’s my pull quote for the movie ads and DVD box: Spock-on-Spock action! I can’t wait for the fan slash fiction for that!

Upping the ick factor: because when two gay leathermen want to make out,
they go to a deserted straight bar in Soho.

Some of you probably watch movies on DVD in themed bunches, like “all of Hitchcock’s” or “all of Woody Allen’s” films, and for a while now I’ve been enjoying screening movies set in and, more importantly, shot on locations in New York City. This week it was Martin Scorcese’s 1985 black comedy, After Hours, with Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette, Teri Garr, and Catherine O’Hara.

After Hours is about a humdrum yuppie heading “downtown” for the evening, hopefully to score with a brainy, sensitive chick he met in a coffee shop. It’s been compared, interestingly enough, to Alice’s Adventures Down the Rabbit Hole. One misunderstanding and disaster befalls another and he spends the night running around Soho until he’s being chased by a vigilante mob in a Mr. Softee ice cream truck, and then sealed inside an artist’s plaster sculpture.

Having produced now six film lecture presentations featuring clips from over 100 movies, where I analyze and discuss the themes presented in the films (like my observation about Star Trek above), I probably tend to think about movies’ subtexts and messages more than the average person. Even though I can certainly enjoy and appreciate a movie for what it is – as Midgets vs. Mascots from yesterday's post attests to – I also think about what a movie reveals about the writer/s and director, and for that matter, its audience.

After Hours is an absurdist black comedy and can be enjoyed as such. But thinking about the movie, it can also be easily argued that it’s misogynistic, homophobic, racist, anti-transgressive, anti-contemporary art, and anti-punk music. It’s only saving grace is that it’s an equal-opportunity offender, since it can also be viewed that it lampoons strait-laced conservatism as well. So on one hand while I can enjoy and respect Scorsese’s dark comedy, its messages of conformism don’t sit well, especially all the homophobia in multiple scenes throughout the movie.

Flies, cherry blossoms, butoh, and photo-flip books as a metaphor for something,
and it's not losing World War II.

Lastly, Kirschblüten - Hanami, a German film released in this country as Cherry Blossoms. Not sure I should bother spending much time reviewing a movie few of you will be able or even want to see, so I’ll simply describe it here with movie math:

Lost in Translation + Persona + Harold and Maude x German = Cherry Blossoms